COFFS Harbour's main defence against storms and severe weather is about to receive a $15million facelift.
Work has begun on major repairs to the Coffs Harbour Eastern Breakwater in a project that will take three years to complete.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services Andrew Stoner announced the restoration work today.
"Coffs Harbour boat harbour is the only deepwater, all-weather port entrance between Port Stephens and Brisbane," Mr Stoner said.
"The eastern breakwater, referred to locally as the southern breakwater, is one of the largest in NSW and provides the main defence for the Coffs Harbour maritime industry against major storms.
"The breakwater is a key contributor to the regional economy, and it ensures land-based marina operations, commercial fishing and government services on this section of the coast are not significantly affected during major ocean storms."
The project is a major boost for local contractor F M Glenn Pty Ltd.
The first stage in the project is the casting of additional concrete blocks to replace existing blocks that are aging or, in some cases, have been lost.
F M Glenn Pty Ltd has been selected to cast up to 740 blocks at a cost of $2.23 million. The casting contact is expected to be completed in July.
"The breakwater is exposed to severe weather conditions and overtopping by large waves which results in damage or loss of the concrete units and rock that form its primary armour," the Deputy Premier added.
The work will be restricted to the southern side of the boat harbour between the council boat ramp and the eastern breakwater, with most activity concentrated in or near the two former quarry sites.
Next year a major contract will be let for the rebuilding of the breakwater. Public access to the eastern breakwater area may be possible during normal working hours subject to where the contractor will be casting on that day and access to the breakwater will be possible on weekends.