Work at the Guyra Main Street upgrade has entered a major exploration phase, after initial test excavations revealed a series of underground fuel tanks that outnumbered expectations.
Anecdotal evidence suggested there could be a number of disused storage tanks beneath the road, footpath and a number of buildings, Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.
“However, exploratory excavations and tests by specialist contractors indicated there could be as many as 19 underground tanks in the section of Bradley Street earmarked for the upgrade,” said Councillor Murray.
“The tanks pre-date official Council records of infrastructure in the street and we were guided somewhat by the knowledge of long-standing residents and business owners.
“That anecdotal knowledge, and the presence of business premises that previously sold fuel, prompted Council to test for abandoned storage tanks but what we found would appear to have exceeded what everyone was expecting.”
He said Council’s priority now was to fully evaluate the underground structures and how to deal with them as part of the main street reconstruction.
“We will need to determine which tanks can be, or need to be, left in place or if any need to be removed for the reconstruction to proceed,” Cr Murray said.
“Some of the tanks are now directly beneath the foundations of existing buildings.
“Council is working closely with the Environmental Protection Authority to ensure compliance with regulations and determine whether decommissioning or removal of the tanks is required to protect public safety during and after the reconstruction works,” he said.
“We want to have the full picture before continuing with the reconstruction works, so they can then proceed smoothly and with minimal interruptions. That’s essential to ensure the project can proceed cost effectively and without unnecessary inconvenience to shoppers and business operators.”
He said Council hoped to have that information during the next fortnight.
“We will continue to liaise with business operators, including a regular newsletter, to update them on timetables and what work will be undertaken at each phase,” Cr Murray said.
Published on 01 Aug 2018