The long wait is finally over. Tools are down, and the street is finally open.
After 17 long months, 3 revised completion dates, a car through a shop window and almost $15 million, retailers can rejoice that the street is back to being fully operational again.
On Monday the street was lined with biodegradable balloons and the public invited to take a bunch into a shop to give to shop staff to share in the celebration.
Sarndra Hanford, Boulevard Café is over the moon about the opening and says, “we are absolutely wrapped, ecstatic, stoked and so pleased! Just really, really pleased, it looks lovely.”
Although a necessary undertaking, it has been a tumultuous time for retailers and residents alike. David Smolenski, owner of Richmond Night and Day says, “people need to come down and experience the new Queen St. We need to get people, and business, back into Richmond again.” Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said the completion of the Queen Street Upgrade, which was carried out by contractor Downer, was a big milestone for central Richmond. “Queen Street has been undergoing major surgery, to bring the spine of pipes and cables it protects up to a state where they can continue to serve a healthy and growing urban community. The street now has one in 100-year flood capacity to protect shops and businesses. Its infrastructure is now large and resilient enough to continue supplying water and taking away wastewater and stormwater for a long time to come. “Plus, the street itself has a new lease of life – it’s modern, it’s a fantastic space for pedestrians of all ages and stages and it provides a real heart to our town centre. I’m really excited to see it open, and I hope everyone comes down to check it out and enjoy the great new experience in Queen Street.” Richard said the new street, which features wide obstacle-free footpaths and a smooth, continuous surface for a much-improved pedestrian experience, would require some people to change their driving habits. “There’s no kerb in the new streetscape, which makes navigating the street easier for people with limited mobility. However, that means drivers pulling into carparks need to take extra care and make a conscious effort not to let their wheels go over the buffer street and onto the footpath. The footpath is still a people-only zone and is not a safe place for cars to manoeuvre. It will take a little time to get used to but I think people will get the hang of it pretty easily.”
Richmond Unlimited will be hosting an official opening on July 2, where business owners and representatives of the upgrade project will be treated to a breakfast BBQ and our mayor will be cutting a ribbon to signify the occasion.
Some minor works will continue on the street and will be carried out with as little disruption as possible.

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