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Volcanic bluestone rock spewed from Mt Horrible near Timaru will start rolling out this morning for connoisseurs of Newmarket's boutique shops, in a $6 million 12-month makeover.

An upgrade of almost 1km of Broadway between Mortimer Pass and the northern end of the Olympic Pools will begin with Mayor Dick Hubbard laying the first paving stone to fulfil a promise he made in 2005 to the Newmarket Business Association.

The council has undertaken to keep all traffic lanes open in Newmarket by day - although some parking along Broadway will be removed as the project unfolds. Major construction work, including truck movements, will take place at night.

Mr Hubbard, who promised to fast-track the Newmarket upgrade after an eight-year battle by the business association, acknowledges that the pavement along Broadway has fallen into "a very sad state of disrepair".

"Newmarket is a premier shopping and entertainment district and we want to maximise the street appeal of its main stretch," he said. "This vital work will improve safety for pedestrians and make it easier to navigate Newmarket by foot."

As well as providing slip-resistant paving and wider pram crossings, the project would include landscaping improvements.