Work has resumed on the $1.5 million Yacaaba Street extension after the Christmas shutdown.
The project began last year with the demolition of shopfronts that stood in the way of the CBD link to the waterfront.
Civil contractor Daracon picks up where the demolition left off “subtracting more material” before its starts on drainage and basic shaping of the road.
“We’re taking [earth] material away to get the shape we want, before we start putting material like paving back in,” Port Stephens Council capital works section manager Phil Miles said.
“By the end of February we should start to see the road taking shape. We should even start to see the retaining walls that will give people an idea of where the footpath will be in relation to the road.”
Businesses owners have long lobbied the council for the project to serve as a link between the marina and the CBD, to help lure tourists to the shops.
While vehicles will flow one-way toward the roundabout on Victoria Parade, a wide, green pedestrian area is anticipated to tempt tourists to make the walk up the slope.
The design has seen two trees get the chop while the completed area will contain five, Bull Bay magnolias. The landscape plans also specifies “ground covers and grasses” that include new blue moon, katie belles and wild iris.
“March will be when we see the change from taking materials away, to bringing them in,” Mr Miles said.
“It will be the turning point in the project when people really start to see the new Yacaaba streetscape take shape.”
The project is scheduled for completion in April, depending on weather.
“Our intention is to open as much of this to people as we can, in time for Easter,” Mr Miles said.
“That might be the road section or the footpath, depending on how work progresses on these elements. It will be practically complete early to mid April.”
The project was funded from a $6 million loan the former mayor Bruce MacKenzie instigated in February 2017, to be repaid at a rate of $1 million a year from the council’s Newcastle property investments.
While he had hoped to see completion by Christmas the council encountered “unforeseen difficulty” with utility relocation and third-party approvals.