Tuesday 30th Nov, 2021

Port of Townsville Channel Upgrade hits new milestone

A 2.2-kilometre rock wall has been built for the $232 million Port of Townsville Channel Upgrade, which will help allow larger ships access to the port.

A 2.2-kilometre rock wall has been built for the $232 million Port of Townsville Channel Upgrade, which will help allow larger ships access to the port.

The rock wall is a key step in widening Townsville’s shipping channel.

Dredging to widen Townsville’s 14.9-kilometre shipping channel will commence shortly, with all dredge material to be placed in a 62-hectare reclamation area bounded by the rock wall.

Dredging is expected to take two years, with the project set for completion in late 2023.

During peak construction, there were 200 trucks passing through the site gates every day to deliver over 20,000 tonnes of rock a week.

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Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Minister Paul Fletcher, said the channel upgrade was a key project under the Townsville City Deal.

“This is a major milestone in the channel upgrade project, which is not only the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken at the Port of Townsville, but will help position Townsville as the economic gateway to Asia and Northern Australia,” Fletcher said.

“This project is one of many significant investments that we’re making through the City Deal, which is helping to generate local jobs, drive economic growth, and ensure that Townsville is a vibrant and liveable city for years to come.”

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minster Mark Bailey, said upgrading the port’s channels would support Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, unlocking capacity for commercial, defence and cruise ships up to 300 metres long.

“We know that when the port is strong, close to 800,000 Queenslanders reap the benefits,” Bailey said.

“That’s why we’re investing in this largest-ever port upgrade, which is supporting local jobs and providing work to local suppliers now during construction and will expand the trading capacity of one of Queensland’s largest publicly-owned ports.”

Queensland Resources Minister and State Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said the Channel Upgrade would support jobs in the Townsville region, providing local opportunities during North Queensland’s economic recovery.

“The project has so far provided employment to more than 1,300 people since 2018, when design work started,” Stewart said.

“Expanding the Port of Townsville’s footprint builds capacity for our resources sector to export more to the world through our pit to port approach, which involves upgrading the Mt Isa to Townsville rail line too.

“The resources sector plays a vital role in supporting jobs across the state and it will be a key part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery from COVID-19.

“More exports means more royalties, and more jobs for Queenslanders.”

Port of Townsville Chief Infrastructure Officer, Marissa Wise, said seven local rock suppliers provided 900,000 tonnes of rock, with construction of the 10-metre-high wall requiring specialist knowledge.

“It was a complex project that called on the marine construction expertise of designers, engineers, environmental experts and contractors working together,” Wise said.

“We have used a number of innovative design and construction techniques to ensure the rock wall withstands tidal action, storm surges, cyclones and rising sea levels.”

The Channel Upgrade project is the largest infrastructure project in the Townsville Port’s history and is the first stage of the 30-year Port Expansion Project.