Port of Melbourne sets benchmark for dredging practices

Completed dredging works at entrance of Port Phillip Bay show the world how it is done, the port claims

Dredging works at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay have been completed, with the Port of Melbourne Corporation claiming it sets a new standard for others to follow.

The works, which were carried out as part of the channel deepening project, were completed without the use of explosives.

As such, Port of Melbourne Corporation Chief Executive Stephen Bradford says the corporation had to undertake a number of technical and scientific studies to ensure the dredging would be successful.

This included using specialised dredging techniques such as scale model testing and refining the dredge head.

Bradford claims the port has set the benchmark because it sought innovative techniques to complete the project on time and in line with environmental standards.

The works were seen as the most technically challenging because the entrance to Port Phillip Bay is one of the most turbulent and potential dangerous stretches of water in the Bass Strait.

"To carry out this work at the entrance on schedule and within budget is a significant achievement when you consider that prior to this project it was not known technically whether the dredging could actually be done," Bradford says.

"In terms of worldwide dredging projects this is an achievement on a major scale."

Bradford says the port will now clean up residual material to manage the potential of a rockfall at the entrance.

During the process, Bradford says turbidity levels remained "well below the environmental limits" and commercial shipping operators were not unnecessarily disrupted.

Dredging at the entrance began on April 5, which involved the removal of hardened material from the top of rocky banks.

About 40 percent of the total dredging volume has been completed, with the Port of Melbourne Corporation saying the project remains on schedule to be completed by the end of the year.

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