Preliminary works have started on a multi-million-dollar project to dredge an area near the Gold Coast Seaway entrance and in the adjacent navigation channels to improve access to the waterways network.

A contract to undertake sediment sampling for the project has been awarded to Gold Coast firm, Pacific Geotech Pty Ltd.

The Seaway is the gateway to the Gold Coast’s inland coastal waterways network and is a vital connection point for boaties.

The $6.3 million Seaway and North and South Channels dredging project will remove sand which has built up near the entrance to the Seaway and in the adjacent North and South Channels.

The result will be improved and safer access for boaties, especially small and medium vessels travelling through the Seaway.

The project will also ensure ongoing access for vessels coming in for maintenance and servicing, including superyachts. These visitors alone are worth tens of millions of dollars to the Gold Coast every year and support thousands of jobs.

The sediment sampling is being done to identify the type of material which will be removed during the dredging process so that GCWA can determine where it can be deposited as part of its Dredge Management Plan and Environmental Management framework.

The sampling process is expected to be completed in the next few weeks with dredging due to start in June this year.

It’s the first time in a decade that GCWA has had to dredge the Seaway.

GCWA CEO Hal Morris said the Sand Bypass System at the Spit has done a great job of keeping the Seaway open by transporting sand north to South Stradbroke Island.

‘Unfortunately, storm activity has brought some of that sand back in near the Seaway entrance over time, so we need to dredge the area.

‘We’ll dredge the North and South Channels at the same time to ensure boaties have clear access into the waterways network.’

Mr Morris said the dredging campaign should be finished by January 2022.

GCWA is planning to deposit the dredged sediment offshore from Narrowneck, Surfers Paradise and South Stradbroke Island beaches and Moondarewa Spit at The Spit to support coastal protection from storm surges.