The third stage of a seven-stage drainage and street landscaping upgrade in the Napier CBD has roared into life with excavators digging into Hastings St between Tennyson St and Emerson St.

Work started just over a week ago and will be followed up in July with stage four which will involve the Tennyson St/Hastings St intersection.

The date of completion is down for October.

The following stages will centre around stormwater upgrades from Tennyson St to Cathedral Lane and Hastings St to Browning St.

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There will also be a full upgrade of the Hastings St stretch between Tennyson St and Shakespeare Rd, although timeframes for those works had not been finalised.

"It is likely that it will take many years to complete these works," is the official Napier City Council comment.

Council engineers had recognised that several areas in the city were susceptible to flooding and were committed to a CBD-wide solution.

Stormwater pipelines, linked through to the viewing platform outlet, have already been installed from the Vautier St and Emerson St intersections with Hastings St.

"It is part of a city-wide response for areas known to be susceptible to flooding," Napier City Council director of infrastructure Jon Kingsford said.

"As with each stage of the upgrade, this year's work further improves our ability to manage stormwater run-off creating long-term benefits for businesses, residents and visitors."

However, for several businesses along the stretch the only thing that will be quiet while the excavators are at work will be business.

"It's just slumped big time - definitely," Kirsty from Fat Lattes Cafe and Catering said.

"There's nowhere for people to park up and soon they'll be cutting up the footpaths so we can't put the tables and chairs out."

She said foot traffic had pretty well disappeared as people avoided the area due to the noise and traffic snarls as Hastings St was now temporarily one lane between Emerson St and Dickens St.

"We could close an hour early - it's got so quiet and it's just not good - we're just cleaning most of the time."

She said there was no option than to simply carry on the best they could and offer some special deals to try and get people in.

"It's a quieter time of the year coming up as well so that's not going to help."

Subway franchisee David Murray said while trade had been down 30 per cent on Wednesday, yesterday had "not been too bad".

It was a case of wait and see how it went.

"It's one of those things and we are getting into the winter season and the tourists had gone, so if they have to do it then this is the time."

He said council staff he had been in contact with had been accommodating.

"It has to be done, that's life I suppose."

Mr Kingsford said the council were mindful of the disruption caused to businesses and the public and as such works were staged in a way to cause least possible impact.

Pedestrian access to shops and businesses would be maintained although there would be some disruption for motorists.

The latest work will follow the same design elements used on the stretch of Hastings St between Emerson St and Albion St as the council steers towards a more pedestrian-friendly approach with wider footpaths, tree planting and raised pedestrian plinths for crossing.