The Causeway has been a hot topic since New Year's Day when it was forced to close due to its unsafe condition. In late January it closed for a second time, stopping the horse tram operation and allowing only foot traffic and light vehicles to cross.
The Victor Harbor Action Group (VHCAG) was delighted to have Member for Finniss David Basham as the guest speaker at its last public forum.
"It was clear that he had taken the time and trouble to ensure that he had been very well briefed and clearly explained all of the problems and the enormity of the repair/replacement exercise," VHCAG president Barry Wright said.
The State Government has completed a thorough inspection of every piece of the Causeway and has commenced essential repairs.
Mr Basham said that a lot of the replacement piles were actually concrete wrapped in plastic and the current state of those need to be checked as well.
"It seems the preference is for a new causeway build and it is Mr Basham's belief that Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Stephan Knoll and Deputy Premier Vickie Chapman are also of that opinion," Mr Wright said.
"Some ball park figures for both options that Mr Basham give the forum were $20 million to complete extensive safety repairs to the existing causeway and approximately another $1 million every seven years for continuing repairs, as it deteriorates further and that will only see the structure remain standing for about 40 years and with all the replacements it won't be the original causeway anyway.
"It will cost approximately $30 million for a new causeway build and that will last for approximately 100 years. Mr Basham has undertaken to keep us informed as events unfold."
Mr Wright said the VHCAG was concerned on the safety of the Causeway.
"As much as we would all like to see the original heritage causeway remain, it appears that just isn't feasible and no matter what is done it will collapse in about 40 years. It was also exciting to hear that with the new technologies and materials available these days, it is possible to make a new causeway look just like the heritage one if desired," he said.
The current causeway will remain for the present, but it will be out of action for varying periods of time as safety repairs are undertaken in stages. It is hoped the Horse Drawn Tram and Granite Island services will resume as soon as possible.
Repairs are expected to take up to eight weeks to complete (weather permitting). The 2.5 tonne load limit will remain in place as the works are undertaken and there may be some short-term vehicle and pedestrian access restrictions to ensure public safety as the works are undertaken.