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City laneway facelift hits roadblock

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A $14 million redevelopment of small streets and laneways connecting the Central Market area to the River Torrens – originally scheduled to wrap up in 2019 – now won’t be completed until next financial year at the earliest.

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The project – announced in 2016 and jointly funded by the State Government and Adelaide City Council – was supposed to finish last financial year, but an unnamed “third party construction” has pushed the final section of upgrades out to 2020-21.

According to a council finance report, only one third of the market to riverbank link – Bank Street and Topham Mall North – has been completed since construction started in 2017.

The second stage of the redevelopment – Bentham Street – is still in its planning stage, with the council currently working to “ensure stakeholder expectations are managed, construction activities appropriately planned, and the project delivers a value for money outcome”.

The third section – comprising Leigh Street, Pitt Street and Topham Mall South – is “currently on hold” until next financial year.

An artist’s impression of what Bentham Street would look like after the Market to Riverbank redevelopment. Image supplied

InDaily asked a council spokesperson to elaborate on the “third party construction” and when it expects the project would be fully completed, but is yet to receive a response.

The Pitt Street upgrade is likely impacted by the ongoing $35 million redevelopment of the adjoining Her Majesty’s Theatre, which is scheduled to reopen in winter.

Completing the project in 2018-19 was listed as a priority in the council’s 2016-20 strategic plan.

The latest strategic plan progress report – published last year – listed the market to riverbank project as being “on track”.

Once completed, the project is expected to create what the council calls an “exciting and vibrant pedestrian and cycling connection between the Adelaide Central Market and riverbank”.

Works include upgraded intersections, new paving, lighting, trees, landscaping, street furniture and public art.

Currently, more than 15,000 pedestrians pass through the laneways each day, which the council hopes will increase once construction is completed.

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