Tweed Sand Bypassing

The Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Project, alias Tweed Sand Bypassing (TSB), is a joint initiative of the Queensland and New South Wales governments to maintain a navigable entrance to the Tweed River and provide an ongoing supply of sand to the southern Gold Coast beaches.

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After being extended in the 1960s, the breakwaters at the entrance to the Tweed River trapped and reduced the supply of sand to the southern Gold Coast beaches.

This sand normally would have been transported to southern Gold Coast beaches by wave action and near-shore currents.

Eventually, the sand moved past the end of the breakwaters and created a large, shallow sand bar at the Tweed River entrance that was hazardous to navigation.

The TSB project aims to overcome these problems.

Aerial photograph of the southern Gold Coast beach and the Tweed River mouth

Project area looking east: from Kirra to Snapper Rocks.

Aerial photograph of the Tweed River entrance and the Tweed coastline

Project area looking west, locations listed counter clockwise from foreground to background: Letitia Spit and the TSB Jetty; Tweed River entrance; Duranbah Beach; Point Danger; Snapper Rocks; Rainbow Bay; Greenmount; Coolangatta Beach; Kirra Point; and Kirra Beach.


The project has been undertaken in 2 stages.

Stage 1, now complete, involved dredging more than 3 million cubic metres of sand from the Tweed River entrance to create a navigable channel and to nourish the southern Gold Coast beaches.

The project delivered sand onto the eroded beaches to bring them back to a condition similar to before the breakwaters were extended.

Stage 2, commencing in 2001, was the installation of a permanent sand bypassing system.

Sand arriving at the permanent system on the southern side of the Tweed River entrance is trapped and pumped to the southern Gold Coast beaches.

The Snapper Rocks East outlet discharging a sand-water mixture

The Snapper Rocks East outlet discharging a sand-water mixture

What’s happening now

The project’s current activities include:

  • the sand bypassing system primarily delivers sand to Snapper Rocks East;
  • the sand bypassing system also periodically delivers sand to Duranbah Beach. This can occur during autumn and/or spring annually;
  • sand pumping occurs primarily at night, except under specific conditions such as system testing or storm events—during which, there may be continuous operations. When outlets are operating, you should keep clear for safety reasons.
  • dredging to maintain a navigable entrance. Recently, TSB has taken a proactive approach to dredging, continuously monitoring the volume of sand in the Tweed River entrance with the goal of maintaining a safe and sustainable navigation channel. For more information on dredge timing, placement locations, or records of historical dredging campaigns, please refer to the Dredging Operations page of the New South Wales Government project site.

Community consultation

The project involves the local community in the TSB through regular consultation of the Community Advisory Committee.

Information on the project is provided to the community in an open forum through regular meetings.

The most recent presentation is available at the Community Advisory Committee page of the New South Wales Government project site

Transition project

As the expiry of the existing Concession Agreement with the TSB Operator approaches, planning and investigation is required to ensure appropriate preparations are made for transition to a new system of operation. The investigation, option identification, evaluation and implementation of a preferred option is known as the TSB Transition Project.

The TSB Transition Project will provide a unique opportunity to improve how the project functions. This will occur through the exploration of all available options and via an analysis of how well the current system has performed since operation.

The scope of the Transition Project is separated into four distinct phases as follows;

  • Phase 1 - Review and assessment of current and past operations
  • Phase 2 - New system options identification and evaluation
  • Phase 3 - Preparation for implementation of a new system
  • Phase 4 - Implementation of a new system

Useful links

Contact us

For general questions, contact:

Project Manager for NSW and Qld Government
Tweed Sand Bypassing
NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
Phone: (02) 6620 5506

For questions about the site operations, or to liaise with the TSB Operator contact:

Maintenance and Operations Manager
Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Company
McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty Ltd