Transport for NSW has received environmental approval to carry out maintenance dredging of the Swansea Channel in July, subject to weather conditions and obtaining a licence for the works from Crown Lands.
This dredging, which will start once the Maritime Delivery Office (MIDO) receives the necessary approval from Crown Lands, allows for the removal of up to 30,000m3 of sand by two dredging campaigns.
Each campaign will aim to remove up to 15,000 cubic metres of sand, with the dredged sand to be placed on Elizabeth Island.
This dredging will provide a 30-metre-wide channel to a depth of -3.5 AHD and allow for vessels with a draft of up to 2.5-metre to travel through the Swansea Channel.
While the Maritime Infrastructure Delivery Office (MIDO) is planning to carry out the first dredging campaign before the end of July and a second campaign scheduled in Autumn 2024, dredging campaigns cannot start without a licence from Crown Lands.
A start date for dredging in July will be confirmed once MIDO has this approval.
MIDO will award the contract for dredging the Swansea Channel as soon as it has completed the tender review process - and will publish details of this on the project website.
In the meantime, some vessels can continue to use the alternative navigable route through the “Airforce Channel” which runs east-west between Naru Point and Lake Macquarie.
Quotes attributable to Swansea MP Yasmin Catley:
“For two years the people have waited for Swansea Channel to be dredged as the issue was left on the backburner by the previous Liberal Government.
Since the Minns Labor Government was elected we have worked to deliver on our commitment to dredge Swansea Channel. It is a great result for the community to be able to announce that we are one step closer to the work commencing this month.
A second dredging campaign will also be carried out in Autumn 2024 and work continues on a 10 year dredging strategy.”