Port Stephens Council has resolved to place a pre-fabricated bridge over the section of Foreshore Drive that washed away in severe rain and floods in March.
Works to begin the install of an InQuik Bridge over the gaping culvert in Corlette's Mambo Wetlands will begin in mid-November with the project expected to be complete by the end of December.
"I tasked our engineers with finding the best solution for Foreshore Drive and Mambo Wetlands, and they've been working hard since the day after the storm to achieve this," Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said.
"We didn't want to slap on a bandaid. Mambo Wetlands is one of the most treasured parts of our incredible environment."
Cr Palmer thanked the community for its patience during the past six months as the council worked to find the "right solution" in fixing the culvert.
Of that, $1.8m was directed towards repairing the Foreshore Drive culvert.
The culvert was one of the first structures in Port Stephens that was reported to have received major damage in the record rainfall and flood event that struck the region in March.
The Mambo Wetlands Landcare and Conservation Group floated the idea of a Bailey Bridge, a type of portable, pre-fabricated, truss bridge, as a fix for the culvert in May.
"A bridge over the inlet, which would allow tidal water, regardless of weather, to flow freely in and out of the wetlands, is a reasonable idea," the group's president Roz Armstrong said.
It is a fix that the council has pursued, with facilities and services manager Greg Kable stating that the InQuik Bridge ticked all the boxes.
"We considered all options for the replacement of this culvert - an engineering project of this nature in an environmentally sensitive area is critical," he said.
"It's a pre-fabricated bridge, which expedites installation and minimises disruption to the environment. We're not removing or disrupting parts of the estuary and the design doesn't produce spoil or sulphate.
"The bridge creates a bigger channel for flood water to move through should we encounter a similar weather event in future. Better flow will also increase the water quality within the estuary."
Related Reading: Culvert collapse was a 'disaster waiting to happen'
The bridge will have a 2.4m footpath on the downstream side of bridge safe pedestrian access.
Crews will establish the work site at the end of October, Mr Kable said, with piling for the bridge starting mid-November.
The lowering of the pre-fabricated bridge will be in mid-December 2021.
"Weather permitting, the bridge will open by the end of December 2021, with final line works happening early January 2022," Mr Kable said.
The InQuik Bridge has been manufactured in Tomago.
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