PHOTO: Dredge Woomera busy in Townsville

The Port of Townsville work to welcome larger commercial, cruise and defence ships to the harbour is progressing well, with channel widening now in full swing.

According to the latest update, the backhoe dredge Woomera has removed almost 700,000m3 to date.

The dredging, which began in mid-March, is expected to take two years and upon completion ships up to 300 metres long will be able to safely access the port, instead of bypassing Townsville.

Most of the works, about 90 per cent, will take place in the Platypus Channel close to the port where the channel will be extended to 180m wide.

The rest of the dredging will occur in the Sea Channel which runs adjacent to Magnetic Island. This area is naturally deeper and will only need to be widened to 120m.

All dredge material removed as part of the Channel Upgrade project is being brought back to land for placement in the 62ha reclamation area.

In total, about 3.4 million cubic metres of material will be removed from the 14.9km shipping channel, over the next two years.

Photo: Port of Townsville