A large steel pipeline is snaking through the Barron Delta as construction for the $127 million Cairns Shipping Development Project gets underway.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey visited the site this week to meet with the team overseeing construction of the 8km pipeline that will transport dredge material from the off-shore dredge in Trinity Inlet shipping channel to the Northern Sands placement site.
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford said the pipeline would be the vital link that transports dredge material from the shipping channel to a secure and environmentally-safe area.
“This means that larger cruise ships, up to 300 metres long, will be able to enter the Cairns Port for the first time,” he said.
“Not only will there be a significant increase in the size and number of cruise ships and other vessels that can berth in Cairns, the shipping channel and other port upgrades open up opportunities for the naval presence in Far North Queensland as well.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the Cairns Shipping Development Project was expected to create 800 new direct and indirect jobs during construction and more than 2,700 new direct and indirect jobs by 2031.
“That will also benefit the marine services industry, trade and cargo movement, and importantly, local businesses, including hospitality, accommodation and shipping suppliers,” he said.
Ports North Chairman, Russell Beer said the works marked a turning point in the long journey Ports North had travelled to make the project a reality.
“After years of rigorous environmental assessments, we are now moving forward with confidence on a project that will potentially generate more than $850 million in benefits to the region and job growth,” Mr Beer said.
The 8km pipeline will deliver soft silt and mud from the channel through cane fields and under the Captain Cook Highway to the sand mine site at Northern Sands.
International company Rohde Neilsen Dredging Pty Ltd (RN) is working with Australian-owned Hall Contracting (HC), the largest Queensland-based dredging company, to carry out all civil, earthworks and pipeline construction and operation.
Work is also underway to prepare the dredge placement area at Tingira Street, Portsmith, as well as upgrades to wharves 1-6 to accommodate larger vessels.
Channel dredging is scheduled to start in July with completion around mid-September 2019.
Project completion, including the wharf upgrades, is expected to be in the first half of 2020.