Preliminary work in preparation for a major stormwater laying project is under way on Napier's Marine Parade - the first stage of an upgrade of the upper Tennyson St and Hastings St district which will also tie in with a revamp of Herschell St.
Behind security fencing which takes in a large swathe of the Marine Parade gardens and foreshore, large excavators have begun work on the seafront section, in what Napier City Council Works Asset manager Bill McWatt described as "establishing the beachfront."
The 2m diameter stormwater pipes will be set in place from the beach outlet toward the old seawall, at a depth of six metres, over the next two weeks. Work will also get underway on a seafront viewing platform at the outlet site.
Mr McWatt said the platform was not a pier into the sea, and would be built "just short of the water."
After the under-beach and gardens stretch of pipeline is completed the digging crews will move on to the Marine Parade stretch between Browning St and Tennyson St.
The starting date for that is scheduled to be May 1 - with Marine Parade being closed to all traffic between Tennyson St and Browning St until July 8.
The council's road assets manager Jon Schwass had been working extensively with the Road Transport Association, Napier Port and major exporters like Enza to ensure heavy vehicles had detour plans away from Marine Parade in place during that period.
The expressway and Meeanee Rd were being put forward as the most effective routes to the port away from the city.
At the same time, roading contractors will begin work on Herschell St which will tie in with the completion of the revamped museum.
"That will be about an eight week project, and we want to get them both done together," Mr McWatt said, explaining that the stormwater line work down to Hastings St would mean restoration work on Tennyson St roading and footpaths near Herschell St.
"So we'll tie both jobs in."
The second stage of the pipeline work will involve the stretch from Albion Lane to Tennyson St, which will itself mean a 12 to 14-week upgrade of that stretch of Hastings St.
That work will take place next year and would be carried out in two "discreet" sections to minimise disruption to retailers.
It was also timed to take in other planned work along the stretch - the development of the old Commercial Building site, the Post Office building and the old Farmers building frontage.
Presently on Hastings St the stretch between Albion Lane and Dickens St is closed to traffic until the end of the month for contractors to carry out demolition of an old underground transformer chamber. Detours are in place although pedestrian access into the area remains open.