HIGH Street will be partly closed from early next month as Wodonga Council’s contractor launches into the Elgin Boulevard realignment.
Traffic won’t be able to head north over the old railway crossing — but can use the new Smythe and Watson streets extensions now built over the old railway reserve, as well as Hovell Street.
This will likely last about three months.
The council revealed yesterday that Excell Gray Bruni’s construction of the biggest piece of the $4.3 million realignment puzzle — a whole new intersection across High Street to link the two sides of the boulevard — will start mid-January.
But to do that, the council says, High Street will be closed northwards from the existing Elgin Boulevard intersection to Bond Street.
Wodonga director of planning and infrastructure Leon Schultz said the decision to partly close the street was made after a community consultation of about 100 traders and residents last month.
“The overwhelming majority said they preferred the case where we go in, do the works as quickly as possible, and get out,” Mr Schutlz said.
The alternative, he said, would have been to complete the works in two halves, which would have meant “double the time and double the pain”.
Few retailers will be directly affected by the closure — some shopfronts along that section are already vacant.
Mr Schultz said the council was conscious of the impact the works would have on local stores, and was keen to stress the city centre was still open for business.
“We encourage citizens to get behind the traders and really support them through this time,” he said.
“This is a vital piece of infrastructure... these works will certainly contribute to making Wodonga a more attractive area for people to shop and enjoy the city centre.
“There’s going to be disruptions but we are hoping to minimise that as much as possible.
“I think it’s unknown exactly what that impact potentially could be on the businesses, but we will endeavour to continually have discussions with them and make sure those channels of communication are open.”
Pedestrian access on High Street will remain.
A start on the project is timed to follow work in Smythe, Watson and South streets.
The remaining realignment works will be broken up in smaller parts done under half-construction to allow traffic on one side of the road, with all work set to be finished in about seven months.