Member for Finniss David Basham said Causeway is essential for Victor Harbor's future

Member for Finniss David Basham and council boating committee member Brian Hockney on the Causeway, which will be replaced during 2020/21.
Member for Finniss David Basham and council boating committee member Brian Hockney on the Causeway, which will be replaced during 2020/21.

There has been some discussion about the necessity of building a new Causeway to Granite Island, or can the old one be repaired and maintained for heritage and budget savings.

The State Government has promised $31 million to build a new Causeway and the construction tender is expected by August.

The build will follow the current Causeway alignment with 10 metres separation to the Port Elliot side.

There has been opposition to the removal of the 150-year-old Causeway with a Save the Causeway group having more than 5000 signatures.

Member for Finniss David Basham said state government engineers (DPTI) and a report from an independent engineering group have concluded that the current Causeway is beyond repair and not fit for current and future purpose.

"The government will not spend money repairing it as it has reached the end of its useful life and has deteriorated beyond the point where it can be refurbished," Mr Basham said.

"The old one will likely be shut permanently, as it becomes too dangerous and never reopened. It is beyond being fully refurbished. There would be no access to Granite Island at all if the new Causeway is not built.

"We all know what that would do to businesses and tourism in Victor Harbor. It would be a disaster."

A new Causeway will not have to be closed like the 150-year-old one needs to in windy conditions.

A new Causeway will not have to be closed like the 150-year-old one needs to in windy conditions.

The facts about the condition of the old Causeway as advised by the state government is that the current causeway cannot be repaired, even with alternative engineering methods proposed to clad the piles with a composite and 98 per cent of all timber piles need to be replaced.

This includes all original timber piles, with only five out of 219 timber piles sound enough to be retained.

Mr Basham said the composite structure where it has been used by DPTI in SA (Port River railway bridge) is different and comprised of steel and concrete piles, not badly deteriorated timber piles.

"It is important the facts are presented.

"The Causeway needs all of the 91 steel piles need to be replaced, all of the 412 bracing and cross head members need to be replaced, there is no original timber for pylons existing to replace the old ones, as it can no longer be sourced, so any heritage or history will be lost and cladding any beams in a new composite effectively removes any heritage characteristic," Mr Basham said.

"Possibly less than 10 per cent of the current structure is original."

Brian Hockney, who is a member of the City of Victor Harbor Boating Facilities Working Group, said Victor Harbor needed the new causeway so business and its community can move forward into the future.

"The new causeway will allow the increased public traffic to walk to the island along side the horse drawn tram safely, with the horse tram and vehicles both being able to use the Causeway at the same time," Mr Hockney said.

"Safe offloading platforms for commercial and recreational boats will be part of the new structure. These facilities cannot be added to the old heritage listed Causeway."

"Council, local business groups and the majority of local businesses are in support of removing the old Causeway, which is beyond repair and replacing it with a fit for purpose Causeway for the future, designed to reflect and respect the heritage style and history of the old Causeway.

"It is rare to receive a grant as substantial as $31 million from the state government for an infrastructure project, so they must be very sure of their facts and the need to replace the old one. It is no longer fit for purpose and potentially unsafe."

This story Member for Finniss sets facts straight on Causeway first appeared on The Times.

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