Few who frequent the Devonport Rd, Fraser St, Oropi Rd corridor will have failed to notice the temporary compounds, extensive excavation and lengths of pipe as they drive, ride, walk or cycle around.
These seemingly fragmented areas of work will eventually link up to form the much vaunted Tauranga Southern Pipeline - a project that sees the construction of a major wastewater trunk main from Maleme St to Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The current phase sees work being carried out on the section from Maleme St to the Memorial Park.
From there work on the pipeline will head into the city, across the harbour via a submarine pipeline to Matapihi, and then to the wastewater treatment plant.
Two options were considered for the route from the park to The Strand - a coastal option incorporating a walkway to the city, or the following Devonport Rd option.
After considerable evaluation, the council chose the Devonport Rd option which meant the coastal walkway would not be constructed.
The Southern Pipeline is a large wastewater pipeline that is needed to transfer sewage from Tauriko/Greerton to the Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant. It will also take away a lot of the pressure from the rest of the city's wastewater system, especially the existing Judea to Chapel St trunk main.
We caught up with Tauranga City Council's project manager Richard Myers to find out how things are progressing:
Is the project running to schedule?
The Maleme St to Memorial Park section of the pipeline that we are currently working on is going well and the contractor, Downer NZ, is expecting to have the work completed around Christmas 2011 - which is in line with their contract.
What proportion of the work has been done so far?
It is quite difficult to accurately proportion the completed work on the Southern Pipeline because as well as the 14.5km of main pipeline to convey sewage from the Maleme St to the Te Maunga wastewater treatment plant, the project includes a number of other smaller related pipelines and secondary work (such as pump stations) that are required for the whole transfer system to work in a full and efficient fashion. The project is designed so that the work can be completed in sections.
So far the upgrade work around the Anchorage Grove reticulation and pump station has been completed. There are another two major pump stations to be built along the pipeline route.
The storage and pump station structure for one of these (at Maleme St) was completed in July last year. The fit out of the mechanical and electrical equipment for this pump station is scheduled to be completed at the same time as the Maleme St to Memorial Park section of pipeline.
The current contract (Maleme St to Memorial Park pipeline) is for the construction of the first section of the main pipeline that will be laid in public roads. The contractor completed a few hundred metres of that in Maleme St just before Christmas last year.
Have there been any problems or hold ups?
The current contract has had a few challenges but on the whole is progressing well. The affected residents and businesses have been positive and great to deal with so far which always helps.
Why is it being done in sections?
The project was designed so that the successful contractor would use multiple gangs working in different locations to complete the work. This helps to reduce the cost and the period of the disruption for the community.
The Southern Pipeline project was split into sections to make the work easier to manage (both from a tender and management perspective) and to enable us to spread the expenditure across a number of years.
Have you timed the section that runs through 15th Avenue to coincide with the current roadworks?
Originally no, the works around there were initially timed to minimise the impact on Tauranga Boys' College. But when it became clear that both lots of work were going to happen at the same time, the NZ Transport Agency and Council worked together to ensure the work could be co-ordinated to limit disruption to the community.
When do you hope to have it completed?
The Maleme St to Memorial Park section of the pipe is expected to be completed around Christmas 2011 and the whole of the Southern Pipeline is due to be completed in 2015/16.