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Granite Island Causeway Project

The Project

The South Australian Government has committed $43 million in funding towards the Granite Island Causeway Project to be delivered by The Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT).

The Granite Island Causeway (the Causeway) is an iconic landmark with considerable heritage value. The Causeway, located 83 km south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, is the only link between Granite Island and the mainland at Victor Harbor and is a site of cultural significance to the traditional owners of the area. The Causeway is also a popular tourist attraction, important to the local, regional and state economies.

Urban design aspiration – The Department is committed to delivering a holistic design solution that creates an elegant local landmark, respectful of heritage and place.

A condition assessment has identified that the original Causeway was approaching the end of its useful life and a feasibility study into the potential upgrade options determined that retaining the existing structure was not viable.

The new Granite Island Causeway will be constructed next to the existing Causeway and will continue to deliver and enhance social and economic benefits to the region and provide a long-term solution that is environmentally sensitive.

For more information regarding Granite Island Causeway Environment please follow the link here to view Environment Fact Sheet

The project is expected to support an average of 43 full time equivalent jobs per year, over the life of the project.

The Department will continue to work with the local community, key stakeholders and environmental specialists as the project progresses, and consultation and collaboration with the Traditional Owners will also continue to ensure the inclusion and recognition of Aboriginal heritage in the design of the new Causeway.

New Causeway Design

The new Causeway is proposed to be constructed adjacent to the existing Causeway, offset 10 metres to the east of the current alignment (narrowing at each end). The new Causeway will follow both the alignment and the height of the existing Causeway.

The benefits of building a new Causeway include:

  • The new structure would provide a holistic, design solution of similar design appearance and simplicity with a 100 year design life that creates an elegant local landmark, respectful of heritage and place.
  • The new Causeway will be integrated with the retained portions of the existing Causeway at the mainland and island.
  • The new Causeway will continue to deliver and enhance social and economic benefits to the region and provide a long-term solution that is environmentally sensitive.
  • Continuation of the historic horse drawn tram operation’s which have been compromised by the restrictions due to the condition of existing Causeway.
  • New Causeway achieves disability access compliance and provides improved pedestrian amenity.
  • The Causeway will provide, a pedestrian priority zone and with separation of pedestrians and horse drawn tramway.
  • The Causeway will provide uninterrupted, reliable access to the island
  • The new Causeway is to include three rest areas, with locations mirroring existing Causeway whilst providing improved seating and interpretive signage;
  • The new Causeway will be able to provide ongoing access to Granite Island with a modern structure that accentuates, reflects and respects its historical significance.
  • Delivery of a “whole of life” solution that minimises ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Retention and restoration of a significant portion of the Causeway which allows an appreciation of the original fabric and sightlines.
  • This project will also enable the existing Causeway to remain open to pedestrians, horse drawn tram and the existing small business and key stakeholders during the construction of the new Causeway. The operation of the existing Causeway will continue to be subject to current operating restrictions and construction staging requirements for the new Causeway.
  • Installation of new and improved boat ramp, which will better accommodate the requirements of the commercial tourism operators that currently utilise this asset.
  • Provides more efficient full access to and from Granite Island for emergency services.
  • Opportunities for public realm investment which will improve people’s appreciation of the structures and locality through historic storytelling, interpretive signage and public art including the reuse of original timbers from the carefully dismantled central portion of the causeway;
  • Installation of new fox gate to protect local fauna.


The new Causeway major works will begin from the Victor Harbor landing area and move towards Granite Island, a progressive system of piling and deck installation will be used. A leading “front” crane will drive and install the piles, with a second crane following and laying precast concrete decking onto the newly installed piles. A total of 82 steel piles and 82 precast concrete decks will be installed.

For more information about Granite Island Causeway Construction, view the Construction Fact Sheet.

Community Engagement

A big thank you goes to the 163 people that attended one of our three Granite Island Causeway information sessions held at the Victor Harbor Bowling Club on Friday, 12 February and Sunday, 14 February 2021.

The majority of the feedback received from the information sessions has been overwhelmingly positive.

Common points raised include:

  • the majority of attendees acknowledged that the concept design is an improvement to the previous design;
  • a large proportion of attendees thought the information sessions were informative and the staff were knowledgeable and able to answer all questions asked;
  • some attendees acknowledged that if something wasn’t done now, it may result in a complete loss of heritage and not being able to retain anything;
  • a small number of attendees preferred the retention of the old Causeway for pedestrians only and that a new Causeway be built for the horse and cart;
  • a small number of attendees raised local fauna management as an issue, with a considerable amount of feedback from attendees complimenting the measures that will be implemented to address impacts in relation to whales and penguins, and other local fauna, and marine life;
  • in general, attendees were happy with the commitment to install a fox gate to protect the penguin colony on Granite Island;
  • attendees provided positive feedback regarding the retention and restoration of a significant portion of the Causeway to allow an appreciation of the original structure and alignment;
  • attendees liked the provision on the new Causeway for tender boats (boat landing facility);
  • ·attendees liked that the new structure will be wider, which will improve safety for pedestrians and accommodate people with mobility challenges;
  • attendees provided positive feedback that the new structure will accommodate full access for emergency service vehicles (e.g. fire truck etc.);
  • attendees commented that the existing structure should be replaced with a new Causeway so that access to Granite Island is maintained at all times and not restricted by wind conditions;
  • many attendees were happy that access to Granite Island will be maintained during construction, subject to weather conditions;
  • attendees were positive about the inclusion of the Aboriginal Community in the concept design, with the etching in the new Causeway surface and other public art opportunities; and
  • attendees also raised a variety of design suggestions and comments such as accessibility considerations and the inclusion of bicycle lanes.

The information sessions were a great opportunity to show the community the collaboration that has been occurring between the City of Victor Harbor and the Department to develop the latest concept design.

See how the Department will support small business through the project.

Join the project mailing list to receive project information as it becomes available and provide your comments or feedback.

If you are a business owner / operator, you can complete the Business Survey.

The survey is an opportunity to identify what is important to your business in relation to this project.


Causeway with Victoria Pier in background. Circa 1930.

Causeway with Victoria Pier in background. Circa 1930.

In the late 19th century, South Australian trade activities were focused on the River Murray, with the Port of Goolwa a major hub for wheat and wool. The construction of the railway to Victor Harbor provided an export outlet to the sea, with the establishment of a reasonably sheltered port near Granite Island. The construction of the Causeway, breakwater and cutting at Granite Island was required once Victor Harbor was established as the main seaport for River Murray trade. A jetty, including the Victoria Pier spur and its structures, was constructed and officially opened in 1864 where cranes loaded cargo onto ships.

For more information regarding the Granite Island Causeway History, view the History Fact Sheet.

Existing Causeway Concerns

  • Much of the original timber has been replaced by new timber, concrete, steel and recently aluminium supports to stabilise the structure and provide short term safety and access to Granite Island.
  • At present, approximately 12.5% of the original structure below deck remains. Above deck, including all handrails, all been replaced over the years and is non-original.
  • In 2019 the Causeway partially collapsed and is currently propped by temporary bracing. The existing structure was assessed to enable repairs and maintain safe access to Granite Island.
  • A significant number of components of the existing causeway have been assessed as being of poor to failed condition with very advanced deterioration. This poses major safety, maintenance, costs, and access issues.
  • This includes 98% of the timber piles which would result in no original piles remaining, 100% of the bracing, 30% of crossheads, and 69% of balustrade posts.
  • The piles on the Granite Island Causeway have multiple issues including weathering/rot, marine borer attack, white ant damage.
  • Restoration was considered as part of the initial structural review. A multi-criteria analysis was undertaken and it was concluded that restoration of the existing structure is an unfavourable outcome. It would fail to meet current technical and safety standards whilst incurring higher whole of life costs
  • The reconstruction of the existing structure would also completely shut off access to the island for a prolonged period of approximately eighteen months.  This would have a detrimental impact on the local community and tourism in the area.

Project Updates

  • The tender for the delivery of the project was announced and Early Contract Involvement (ECI) was engaged on 26 November 2020.
  • Progressing with an efficient and constructible design solution in consultation with key stakeholders.
  • It is expected that the construction contract will be awarded in late February 2021.
  • The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 - Section 23 Approval obtained December 2020.
  • The development application was submitted to the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP) in December 2020. This process included a community feedback period from 18 December 2020 to 22 January 2021.
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999- EPBC Application with determination received mid-January 2021 with number of conditions to mitigate impacts.
  • The Project continues to consult and collaborate with the Council, local community, key stakeholders and environmental specialists.
  • Consultation continues with Traditional Owners to ensure the inclusion and recognition of Aboriginal heritage in the design of the new Causeway.
  • Return to community with Community Information Sessions12 & 14 February 2021
  • Collaborate feedback from Information Sessions regarding mitigations, opportunities and upcoming Milestones for the project.


Major construction works of the new Granite Island Causeway are expected to commence in March 2021, subject to approvals.

The new Granite Island Causeway at Victor harbor will now potentially open in January 2022.

Subject to approval, decommissioning of the existing Causeway will be undertaken after the new Causeway has been constructed. Decommissioning is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

Further information

To find out more about the project, provide feedback or register to receive project information as it becomes available, register your details or:

Phone: 1300 049 048


COVID-19 Response

The Department will continue to tailor community engagement opportunities in line with the latest COVID-19 advice from health authorities.

Face-to-face engagement opportunities may be restricted and we will continue to be guided by the advice of health authorities, with the health and safety of our stakeholders always our highest priority.

Engagement with community and industry is crucial and we will facilitate information sessions as much as possible to enable face to face engagement.  It is important to assist in managing these events that you register as requested to enable physical distancing as much as possible.