The next package of site investigations for the Port of Hastings container expansion are now underway with the start of the land-based site surveys program this week, Minister for Ports David Hodgett announced today.
“The land-based site surveys, as well as the marine site surveys and summer environmental sampling programs currently underway, will allow the Port of Hastings Development Authority to get the data needed to begin the next four years of feasibility investigations and develop a proposal for Victoria’s second container port,” Mr Hodgett said.
“The expansion of the Port of Hastings is essential to cater for the forecast congestion of our ports and importantly will secure the long-term growth of our state, that’s why the Victorian Coalition Government has committed $110 million to see the development progressed.”
Member for Hastings Neale Burgess said the latest site surveys are another important step and continue to demonstrate the Victorian Coalition Government’s commitment to the project.
“As well as being critical for Victoria, this project will provide a huge economic and employment boost for Hastings so it’s great for the community to see progress happening on-the-ground,” Mr Burgess said.
Port of Hastings Development Authority CEO Mike Lean said the Authority aims to gain a better understanding of the ground conditions located within the existing Port special use zone – in areas that will be the focus for planning of a new container terminal precinct.
“To ensure comprehensive planning for a container shipping terminal at the Port of Hastings is achieved, we must have a detailed understanding of the ground conditions in and around the focus area for container expansion,” Mr Lean said.
“We need to first start by collecting a base level of data from which to further advance our planning and assessment program.
“We will be using a variety of methods including taking borehole samples, ground probes, and digging test pits and ground water wells to collect these samples. All of these will be carried out under strict environmental controls.”
Specialist consultants Golder Associates will carry out the land-based surveys, which are anticipated to occur over the next two to three months.
Results of the surveys will provide the Authority with detailed knowledge on the soil composition, geological characteristics and topography of the existing local land and coastal environment, helping inform port design and the detailed environmental assessment to be completed in coming years.
Since mid-December 2013, specialist contractors Worley Parsons and Aurecon, have been undertaking the marine site survey program, completing approximately 50 per cent of the marine geophysical survey and approximately 20 per cent of the marine geotechnical survey.
Mr Lean commended local fishers and mariners for following the Harbour Master’s direction to keep clear of the barges and vessels as the surveys continue.
“Local users of Western Port have helped ensure the safe operation of vessel crews over the holiday period. We will be continuing the marine survey program throughout all survey areas, including the Western shipping channel and anchorage over the coming weeks and months,” Mr Lean said.
“If the continued good weather conditions hold, we are on track to complete the program ahead of the 9 to 12 month schedule originally planned.”
Press Release, February 13, 2014