Makeover, new plumbing for Cambridge CBD

20 October 2014
Waipa District Council is hoping a makeover of  Empire Street in Cambridge will make up for any disruption caused by critical pipe work to be undertaken early next year.

A project to replace aged water and waste water pipes will begin in mid-January 2015, timed to avoid the busy lead-up to Christmas.  It will involve digging up both Empire and Duke Streets in stages and replacing water and waste water pipes that were originally installed in the early 1920s. 

Council’s project engineer Carl Smith said a number of issues have already been caused by the pipes and given their age, those issues were only going to get worse. Earlier this year, the connection to the Masonic Hotel was broken when the pipe collapsed and pulled away from the main.

“In that instance, we were able to fix it over two nights, so the disruption was relatively minor,” he said.  “But these pipes are nearly 100 years old and the reality is that more breaks are likely.  Just last week we cleared a blockage close to the Victoria Street roundabout.  We need to sort it  now before something much worse happens and creates bigger problems.”

Mr Smith said, depending on weather, the project was likely to take around 18 weeks.  

“We’re aiming to minimise as much disruption as we can.  For example, we’d like to do some of the work at night when the shops are closed. We’ll also try to do it in stages so we can limit the impact on any one area.”

Landscaping and roading improvements will be piggy-backed off the pipe replacement project, including new kerbing, planting and a much smoother road surface.  Gentle speed bumps will be installed in lower Empire Street and there will be a raised pedestrian crossing installed at the Duke/Empire Street intersection. Of the $1 million estimated cost, around $300,000 is ring-fenced for roading and landscaping improvements.

“We acknowledge it will be challenging at times for retailers and shoppers so we want to tie both projects together and do it all at once.  We’re hoping people will see this as short-term pain for long-term gain.”

While no additional parking can be providing in Cambridge over the duration of the project, additional signage will be erected to direct visitors and shoppers to existing car-parks. Retailers have already been advised of the project and have been invited to information sessions to be held by the Council in early November.


​All media enquiries, contact Jeanette Tyrrell (on behalf of council) 027 507 7599 

Page reviewed: 18 Apr 2017 1:09pm