The new Granite Island Causeway is a step closer with the shortlisting of McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty Ltd and WATPAC Australia Pty Ltd to participate in the next phase of the procurement.
A condition assessment identified the original Causeway was approaching the end of its useful life and a feasibility study determined it was time to replace it with a new one.
Building a new Causeway ensures access to the Island can be maintained, as refurbing the old one would cut the island off for at least 12 months, which would be crippling to the local region.
The new Causeway will be constructed at a cost of more than $30 million.
A decision is still to be made on whether parts of the existing structure can and will be left in place at either end for heritage purposes.
Construction of the Causeway is expected to begin in late 2020 and it will be open for public access in late 2021.
Acting Infrastructure and Transport Minister Rob Lucas said to refurbish the existing causeway wasn't an option, as almost all of it is unsalvageable.
"Building the new causeway will support around 43 full time equivalent jobs per year over the life of the project which is vital during these tough economic times.
"As part of the project, environmental management measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of marine animals including whales, dolphins and the penguin colony," Mr Lucas said.
Member for Finniss David Basham said Granite Island was one of the most visited parks in South Australia and was a jewel in the crown of Fleurieu Peninsula tourism.
"The causeway is a critical piece of infrastructure for both tourists and locals and I welcome the construction of a new Causeway to allow improved access to the island," Mr Basham said.
City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins said the procurement process was another positive step forward in securing a long-term solution for the structural concerns of the current Causeway.
"Council is excited that the State Government has moved so quickly in the procurement process of this major project. A new Causeway, with new generation infrastructure that can withstand the Victor Harbor weather and marine environment, will help sustain our local businesses, who rely on visitors to Victor Harbor," Dr Jenkins said.
Council will continue to work with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport to minimise the impact on the foreshore and tramway operations during the construction phase of the project.
Business Victor Harbor chair Michael Schubert said the new Granite Island Causeway was set to breathe new life and reinvigorate Granite Island and the Victor Harbor surrounds.
"Business Victor Harbor supports the State Government's initiative of the new Causeway and we see the project as necessary for the ongoing viability and further development of our region," Mr Schubert said.
"It will be a boost for business."
The new concept design is set to be constructed alongside the existing Causeway that currently carries pedestrian traffic and the horse-drawn tram before curving onto Granite Island.
'Save the Causeway' spokesperson Eli Bickley was "dismayed" at the shortlist of two contractors.
"Not only are they ignoring the advice of heritage experts who are advising it can be readily repaired, but the two shortlisted companies aren't even South Australian," Mr Bickley said.
"How can the government award a design and construct contract when there is still no environmental and heritage impact assessment or geotechnical survey to date?"