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The summer holidays have interrupted a multimillion-dollar project to restore Te Rauone Beach in Otago Harbour.
However, Port Otago civil engineer Andy Pullar said crews had been very close to completing the construction of three rock groynes off the Harington Point beach.
And the near complete structures already in place over the break were showing promising signs, Mr Pullar said.
About eight to 10 days of work remained to complete the three groynes at the beach, about 2km from Taiaroa Head, he said.
And observations over the summer suggested the new infrastructure would work as expected and protect the beach against erosion.
The beach was already beginning to change, he said.
"There’s already naturally sand building up around the groynes," Mr Pullar said. "That’s a good indication that any sand we put in there will stay there."
Work stopped at the beach in the middle of last month to allow for the New Zealand sea lion breeding season and for the community to access the beach over the holidays.
When crews returned to the site next month to complete the groynes, dredge equipment from Australia would also arrive and over the coming months sand replenishment would begin in earnest.
The port’s New Era dredge would collect sand from the edge of the channel, where it was a bigger grain size, and crews would then pump the sand on to the beach, Mr Pullar said.
He expected the sand replenishment to take a couple of months.
"It sounds really easy in theory," he said.
The work is expected to end about six decades of erosion at the beach.
The project has been about a decade in the making and, as plans progressed through the resource application stage last year, it was overwhelming supported by the community.
The Dunedin City Council is responsible for improvements to the reserve as a part of the project. Te Rauone Reserve, the only public area available to the Otakou and lower Peninsula communities, is popular for recreation, and provides access to Otago Harbour.