Adelaide Living Beaches


Customer: Department for Infrastructure and Transport and the Department for Environment and Water

Contract: Design, construct, operate, maintain

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Fast Facts

  • Up to 150,000 m3 of sand transfer per year
  • 9 km of slurry delivery pipework
  • 7 km of seawater supply pipework
  • 5 slurry and 2 seawater pumping stations
  • 16 sand discharge points

The Department for Infrastructure and Transport and the Department for Environment and Water awarded McConnell Dowell two contracts for the Adelaide Living Beaches Sand Transfer Infrastructure project in Adelaide, South Australia. The first contract was for design and construction of the system, and the second for the operation and maintenance of the system.

Sea conditions along Adelaide’s metropolitan coastline result in longshore drift of sand from south to north, stripping the southern beaches of sand when not replenished.

The project involved the design and construction of sand transfer infrastructure along a linear belt of 9 km of coastline. The infrastructure includes two sand management cells - located between Glenelg Beach and Kingston Park, and between the Torrens River outlet and West Beach Harbour, each containing a single independent slurry pipeline and associated water pumping pipelines.

The sand pumping network replaces the previous trucking of sand along the beaches from north to south, to counteract the loss of sand due to the constant northward current drift and makes the sand dredging currently undertaken at West Beach and Glenelg more efficient.

The challenges and risks of working in a sensitive coastal and urban environment required McConnell Dowell to assess the merits of traditional construction methodologies and innovative new approaches. Conventional directional drilling was avoided and pipe strings using open trenching were laid and trenches backfilled daily to enhance safety and minimise disruption.

The infrastructure construction was successfully completed in 2013.

McConnell Dowell was contracted to maintain the facility for an initial 10 years, and this was recently extended by another five years, out to 2028.


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