Manners Mall

2 August 2010

Chunks of the original road and even old tram rails will be removed from Manners Mall in coming weeks as work to build the new busway ramps up.

Downer contractor working on the Manners Mall project

Downer contractor working on the Manners Mall project

Buses are expected to be using the new route from the end of November, but over the next month or so the toughest part of the construction project will be under way. We're asking retailers and regular mall users to bear with us while the heavy work gets done.

The Council's Acting Infrastructure Director, Maria Archer, says the contractors will be doing everything they can to minimise noise and dust. "I know it's difficult with all the roadworks, barriers and wet weather in recent months, to visualise how the city will look when the work is complete but we are confident the more direct bus route and shared space in lower Cuba Street will significantly improve the city and the way people get around it."

With our engineers CPG, we've reviewed the construction plans for Manners Mall over the past couple of weeks. Earlier test bores revealed concrete of a strength and depth that would have been suitable for use as a base for the new roadway. However, more extensive excavation work has shown there is less concrete than the  tests indicated and what's there isn't all of a consistent enough strength. That means we'll be excavating about another 600 mm, pouring a concrete foundation and then reinforced concrete. The work will be done in sections and then asphalted. You'll still be able to walk on either side and cross in at least one place.

There are likely to be at least two diggers working in the mall most of the time - one digging up and breaking concrete and the other stockpiling the excavated material and loading the trucks that will take it away, first from the Cuba Street end and then via Victoria Street. Due to the additional work, we are likely to be in the mall past the end of September, but Downer will be working hard to minimise possible delays, including working on Saturdays at times.

Screens are being used to help reduce noise and workers will stop really noisy activities for half an hour every couple of hours and for two hours from 12 noon to 2.00pm to reduce the impact on businesses and their customers. Diggers will still operate during these times but they won't be breaking concrete.

The mall was created on top of an old road and tram route in the late 1970s. We know what has been added in recent decades as stormwater improvements and other work has been carried out, but many utility companies work in this area and exactly how much of the old road has been removed over the years is not well documented. Mall revamps in the past have happened on the surface and have not required extensive excavation of foundation work.