Businesses are being warned to expect disruption as a major infrastructure upgrade begins in Milton.

Clutha District Council is investing $6 million to replace old water, stormwater and wastewater pipes under Union St, between High and Abercrombie Sts, and to place overhead powerlines 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.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the underground works were essential to allow Milton to grow, and to avoid later disruption to the streetscape improvements.

“This project will replace critical infrastructure that has come to the end of its life. It also gives us the opportunity to upgrade pipe capacity, addressing long-standing flooding issues and allowed us to plan for future growth in Milton — an area I think has huge potential.”

Council service delivery group manager Jules Witt apologised in advance for disruption arising from the works, and said everything had been done to mitigate inconvenience to businesses and residents.

“The pipes being replaced run either under the road or footpath so unfortunately this means there is an unavoidable impact. There will be reduced parking, stop-go on the main street and short detours for light traffic. We recognise that businesses will be most affected, so the work is being done in sections to reduce the amount of time they’re disrupted.”

The work would take more than a year, and would be completed in 50-metre sections, he said.

Some businesses could be disrupted three times during the year, as it was not possible to replace all infrastructure at the same time.

‘‘Due to the alternative routes, it’s not possible to detour heavy traffic, so only light vehicles will need to be briefly detoured. Motorists are advised to add around seven minutes to their travel time to allow for any delays.’’

Work on the main street begins early next month.

Stormwater work at the High St pump station began this week, and work on the wastewater pipes under Ossian St begins on July 3.

Local contractor Andrew Haulage is undertaking the pipe replacement work, while the undergrounding of powerlines will be completed by PowerNet.

Mr Witt said nearby parking could be lost temporarily.

“When there is work outside a business, it will see a temporary loss of parking directly outside for around a week. We’ll be working to ensure there is still plenty of parking in the wider area, and there will still be pedestrian access to shops.”

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