Contractors from Balclutha firm Andrew Haulage break ground for the Milton Main Street Upgrade project on State Highway 1, outside the Tokomairiro Presbyterian Co-operating Parish Church last Monday.

The Clutha District Council project has been nearly five years in the planning and will begin with $6 million of upgrades to replace old water, stormwater and wastewater pipes under Union St, between High and Abercrombie Sts.

Powerlines will also be placed underground.

The project is the first phase of a wider visual and amenity streetscape upgrade for the town, expected to cost a further $5 million. A council spokeswoman said the work was likely to take longer than 12 months and would involve some disruption to traffic and businesses.

‘‘During the work over the next year, there will be extended periods of reduced parking and reduced speeds, and a day of stop/go delays on July 9.

‘‘We recognise that businesses will be most affected, so the work is being done in 50m sections to reduce the amount of time they’re disrupted.’’

Detailed updates, detour maps and further information about the project are available online at .