Work has started on a box-culvert that Putiki residents hope will relieve ongoing flooding problems in Onetere Drive.

Residents have been battling for years to get the Whanganui District Council to replace the controversial culvert over the Awarua Stream on Wikitoria Rd after repeated flooding of their properties and homes.

The stream flows from farmland between No 2 Line and State Highway 3, then under State Highway 3 and Airport Road, and into the Whanganui River near Corliss Island.

Site work on the culvert began on Thursday, July 4, and will be completed by September 13. Some large willow trees next to the road are being felled in preparation for construction of the culvert.

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Whanganui District Council senior stormwater engineer Kritzo Venter said there would be more work on the Awarua Stream after work on the culvert was completed.

"This includes riparian planting, fencing the margins of the stream to protect it from stock and constructing fish passages by lowering culverts and adding rocks to the water flow, enabling fish to swim to breeding areas," Venter said.

Invasive plant species would be removed.

The new culvert is part of a programme which began in 2013 to improve the Awarua Stream. The New Zealand Transport Agency is funding 61 per cent of the cost of the culvert.

The work on the Awarua Stream is partly funded by the Whanganui River Enhancement Trust and is part of the Healthy Streams initiative, which is a community project led by the council in partnership with local iwi, Horizons Regional Council, government departments, charitable trusts, commercial businesses and landowners. The aim is to keep waterways in the Whanganui district healthy and functioning well.