SYDNEY’S Overseas Passenger Terminal is undergoing a major improvement project to protect and support the wharf and surrounding seabed.

Starting 27 January, Port Authority of New South Wales will begin work to prevent the ongoing movement of sediment around OPT, clear accumulated material from the berthing area and protect the seawall from future erosion.

Port Authority of NSW CEO Philip Holliday said monitoring what goes on below the water is just as important as tracking vessel movements on the water.

“Our hydrographic surveys of the seafloor around the ports of NSW reveal changes caused by natural processes and vessel activity over time, which can change the depths of berths and shipping channels,” he said.

“Recent underwater surveys of Circular Quay around the OPT wharf identified increased siltation and a build-up of rocks and sediment – a possible navigational hazard to vessels if not removed. The temporary suspension of cruise ships in Sydney gives us a rare window of opportunity to undertake this essential maintenance project with minimal disruption to this very busy waterway.”

Port Authority’s Berthing Infrastructure Project begins on 27 January and is scheduled for completion in July 2021.

The works will take place in two stages: the first installing an underwater retaining wall from a barge close to the terminal and the second removing the build-up of sand and sediment and installing concrete ‘mattresses’ to protect the OPT wharf from erosion.

The terminal wharf and restaurants at the OPT, including Cruise Bar, Quay Restaurant, Squire’s Landing and Yukis at the Quay, will remain open during the works.

During the stage 1 works, Ferry Wharf 6 (West), Commissioners Steps and Harbour Masters Steps will be closed, and ferries and water taxis will use alternative wharfs.