Recently completed $2 million Sandergrove Road faces 14 more weeks of civil works

Road controversy: Alexandrina CEO Glenn Rappensberg and mayor Keith Parkes celebrate the completion of Sandergrove Road's upgrade in August 2019.
Road controversy: Alexandrina CEO Glenn Rappensberg and mayor Keith Parkes celebrate the completion of Sandergrove Road's upgrade in August 2019.

Stretches of a $2 million upgrade to Strathalbyn's Sandergrove Road - which faced delays and a budget blowout - are set to be dug up as part of a new 14-week project, much to the ire of residents.

This comes only months after a lengthy streetscape upgrade which began in October, 2018, was finished after revelations it had damaged SA Water installations.

Upgrades carried out by Alexandrina Council were completed in early August last year and described as a "stunning, new boulevard-style entrance" to Strathalbyn.

Council upgrades included street-level enhancements to underground power lines as well as civil and landscape works, new footpaths, street-side kerbing, a stormwater management system, road asphalting, street furniture, trees and landscaped gardens. The final stage of the project faced delays when it was discovered there was a significant clash between an existing sewer main and required upgrades to stormwater infrastructure and council were forced into spending an extra $161,000 on the project.

On Monday February 17, SA Water will begin work on replacing and relocating around 500 metres of water main along Sandergrove Road to tackle safety issues that they say were created by the streetscape works.

SA Water's General Manager of Asset Operations and Delivery Mark Gobbie said the required upgrades are due to "works in the area" which damaged piping and placed kerbing and electrical poles directly above SA Water pipelines.

"Before the kerbing was extended, the pipe on Sandergrove Road was previously in good working order and located below the road - where the majority of our water services are across the state - but is now under the footpath which creates access issues that must be resolved for the safety of our people, customers and the community," Mr Gobbie said.

"Currently, in the event of a water main leak or break, our crews would have to drill down through layers of concrete to access the main and carry out repairs. This increases the time we are on the road and potentially how long water is disrupted for our customers.

"Kerbing laid above top stones and fireplugs, as well as underground electrical services moved closer to our water main, also mean the infrastructure doesn't meet safety standards as detailed in the Water Supply Code of Australia (2011). To rectify these issues, we need to move the water main back under the road."

An additional 265 metres of water main will also be installed along the same road as part of a separate project aimed at ensuring the the local network can meet future demand as a result of expected population growth in the area.

"As with all our projects across the state, we aim to work closely with councils and it's unfortunate the streetscaping schedule was not able to accommodate the water main relocation to minimise disruption," said Mr Gobbie.

An Alexandrina Council spokesperson said council had a different view of what had transpired to SA Water.

"Council maintains that it has complied with all its obligations pursuant to the Water Industry Act 2012 (SA) and believe that no liability exists with SA Water," said the spokesperson.

"As such, it is council's belief that the cost of the SA Water Upgrade Project is the responsibility of SA Water.

"Council will continue to uphold the best interest of the community in its engagement with SA Water and appreciates the patience of the community and residents of Strathalbyn."

The spokesperson also said, that throughout any project council endeavoured to collaborate with government agencies to ensure minimal disruption to road users.

"Unfortunately in this case, both parties' timeframes for works could not be aligned," they said.

SA Water contractor Fleurieu Civil will complete both the safety relocation and water main extension works on Sandergrove Road, which is expected to take around 14 weeks to complete, with construction typically occurring from Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm, from Monday February 17.

"We're now working closely with council staff to ensure minimal impact to residents and people travelling through the area during the water main relocation," said Mr Gobbie.

"We will also ensure residents and businesses are notified of any temporary water supply interruptions that are necessary."