Channel Upgrade marks 1 million cubic metres dredged

Channel Upgrade marks 1 million cubic metres dredged

​The $232 million Port of Townsville Channel Upgrade marked a significant milestone in October 2022, with Hall Contracting having dredged 1 million m3 of material from the Platypus Channel.

Hall Contracting CEO Cameron Hall said the milestone signalled the dredging campaign was now approximately one-third complete.

“Our backhoe dredge, Woomera, has been tasked with dredging just over 3.2 million m3 of material from the Platypus Channel and Sea Channel,” Mr Hall said.

“Moving such a substantial volume of clay, silt and mud is no small feat, especially as we are transferring the material into a wet reclamation area, which requires us to continually establish and maintain stable ground conditions for operating earthmoving equipment.

“To date, the crew has transferred approximately 715 barge loads of material – each weighing around 2,800 tonnes – to the 62-hectare reclamation area, neutralising naturally occurring acid sulfate soils and drying the material.”

The project will see the Platypus Channel widened to 180m at the port end and tapering to 120m offshore, enabling the Port of Townsville to welcome trade, defence, and cruise vessels up to 300m in length on completion.

Mr Hall said approximately 120 new jobs had been created as part of the dredging campaign, with Townsville locals comprising 93 per cent of the project workforce.

“As a Queensland-based company, it was incredibly important to us to engage local suppliers and workers to deliver this project and offer training opportunities wherever possible,” he said.

“Approximately 20 people in our current workforce are undertaking apprenticeships, traineeships or bachelor’s degrees, which will help to build capacity in the Townsville region.”

The $232 million Channel Upgrade is the largest infrastructure project in the Port’s 158-year history and is jointly funded by the Australian Government, Queensland Government and Port of Townsville.

Dredging operations are on track to conclude in late 2023, weather permitting.