Stormwater resilience in Nelson took a huge leap over the past six months, with work to upgrade pipes running under Waimea Road and Rutherford Street completed ahead of the April 2023 schedule and on budget.

The project, run by Nelson City Council and Fulton Hogan with sub-contractors Ching’s Contracting and Donaldson Civil Ltd, saw 1.8m diameter stormwater pipes installed from Snows Hill to Examiner Street, with wastewater and water pipes renewed at the same time.  

This is the second stage of work to upgrade Little Go Stream. The first stage commenced in 2016 and focused on the area between Nelson Boys' College and the Admiral’s Motor Lodge on Waimea Road. 

One of the key challenges faced by the project was rerouting thousands of car journeys on one of Nelson’s busiest roads, through side streets that went past residential homes and Hampden Street School. A series of traffic calming measures, including lane narrowing, temporary roundabouts, speed radars, and VMS boards kept speeds low through the detour. 

“This project is a massive investment in the resilience of the main access route into our city from the south,” says Nelson Mayor Nick Smith.

“The work has been expensive, at nearly $10 million, and we are grateful to the thousands of commuters, hundreds of households and dozens of businesses who were affected by the detour, but it was absolutely necessary if we are to make our city safer and more resilient to intense storms and climate change.  

“I congratulate our Council infrastructure team and our contractors on getting this major job done within budget and ahead of time.” 

Deputy Mayor Rohan O’Neill-Stevens says the upgraded network is now able to withstand a 1-in-100-year flood event. 

“Given the flooding our region experienced in August, and now the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle, it’s part of the climate change adaptation work that I expect to see happening right across New Zealand and Nelson in the coming years. We’re making progress, but as you will see in our upcoming Annual Plan, there is much more to do as we look to build even more resilience into Nelson’s infrastructure.” 

Group Manager Infrastructure Alec Louverdis says the completed project is a substantial improvement for an area of Nelson that saw considerable flooding in 2011.  

“Upgrading our three waters infrastructure is always a priority for Council, and this was backed up by a $496m infrastructure budget in the 2021-31 Long Term Plan. With a budget just under $10m, the Rutherford Street upgrade adds significantly to our resilience against future events and we can all benefit from the extra peace of mind.”