CONSTRUCTION has been completed on a key element of a world-first, three level access ramp at the Spirit of Tasmania Quay at the port of Geelong.

The ramp uses a complex steel structure built specifically for Spirit of Tasmania’s current ships and new, larger vessels due to arrive in 2024.

It has been designed to provide streamlined and more efficient access for cars, caravans and trucks entering the ro-pax vessels.

Local engineering and fabrication company Thornton Energy Australia completed the key element of the access ramp.

The gantry legs, triangulated truss, deck platforms and link spans were fabricated in nearby Corio using 510 tonnes of steel – the same amount of steel used to create 32 school busses, according to GeelongPort.

“As various elements of this amazing structure were put in place over the course of July, August and September, GeelongPort was supported by Powercor, and other key project partners, to ensure the over-dimensional loads could be transported from Corio to North Geelong over five nights in August,” GeelongPort said.

The overall Spirit of Tasmania Quay site in Geelong will also include a passenger terminal, a passenger vehicle marshalling area for 600 cars and caravans, more efficient passenger vehicle check in, security facilities and public amenities.

The new facility will also feature a dedicated freight terminal, streamlined and segregated passenger and freight entry and exit points and 150 truck parking bays.

The Spirit of Tasmania Quay is reportedly still on track for first sailings on 31 October.