James Line upgrade fitting into place

James Line upgrade fitting into place
The James Line upgrade project includes road widening, kerb and channel, and footpaths along the entire 0.5km length.

Driven by urban growth in the Whakarongo area, just to the east of Palmerston North, a small piece of rural country road known as James Line is being given a $4.7m upgrade, due for completion November this year. Historically rural, the Whakarongo area is adjoined by James Line.
Mark Read, Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) project manager says urban growth has recently pushed out to the east of Palmerston North, making Whakarongo the next obvious suburb.
The James Line upgrade is the last piece in the puzzle in enabling the development of the Whakarongo area.
“About 600 properties have been planned to the east of James Line. That residential development was really waiting on James Line to be upgraded— so it’s unlocking that last piece for urban development.”
A key part of the project was adding Council assets like water mains, storm water and wastewater, enabling urban development and for that development to connect to the new infrastructure.
Stretching less than half a kilometre from the railway line down to SH3, the James Line upgrade project includes road widening, kerb and channel, and footpaths along the entire length.
“There are also quite considerable retaining wall structures on both sides of the road and quite a large structural earth embankment on the eastern side of the road,” says Mark.
The work includes connecting Rosalie Terrace to James Line, and creating a roundabout down the lower terrace connecting the new Freedom Drive link to Roberts Line in the west, and the new Whakarongo suburb to the east. “It’s about creating an urban environment,” explains Mark.
“So, footpaths for people to walk to and from the local school, a wider road so that the community can grow and develop as an urban community as opposed to a rural piece of land.
“It’s about urban growth and supporting PNCC’s urban growth goals. There are quite large growth figures projected for the next 10 – 15 years that we’re trying to attain.”
While there were initial delays in starting the project, these were primarily around reaching agreement with Horizons Regional Council; PNCC’s controlling authority for earthworks and storm water discharge, in respect to suitable consent requirements.
Mark says the upgrade project is, close to an old oxbow from the Manawatu River, which is effectively a wetland area that holds water for quite a bit of the year and is classified as a threatened habitat by Horizons.
“Horizons placed quite stringent controls around working adjacent to the oxbow. We’ve had to do quite a bit of water monitoring for macro-invertebrates—small shellfish—both prior to and during construction, and reporting on that to show we’re meeting our requirements.”

James Line upgrade fitting into place
The James Line upgrade project includes road widening, kerb and channel, and footpaths along the entire 0.5km length.

 
One of the bigger challenges was one of the earthworks projects. The structural fill in the embankment couldn’t be completed during the winter months, pushing the project back.
“Originally, we hoped to have finished the project in September this year, but we weren’t able to get the earthworks completed before the wetter part of the year. All project works will now be completed by November.”
Mark says it will be good to reopen the road and start to see some of the residential development occurring either side of James Line.
“A good result for us is that we will complete James Line and the developers won’t need to come and dig it back up to put services in because that work has already been done.
“We’ve tried to be collaborative with the adjacent property owners throughout the project so we get a good result for them and Council.”
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