Licences and permits

Opening Port River bridges

The Port River has two bridges that open for tall vessels to pass under. The Port River Expressway (Prexy) Bridge and the Birkenhead Bridge.

Most boats can pass under the bridges unopened, but you will need to plan ahead and check your vessel height, bridge clearances and opening times.

Details about the bridge opening times and clearances are below.

Port River bridges opening times

Day of the weekOpening times
Weekdays 6.00 am to 6.15 am
  7.00 pm to 7.15 pm
   
Weekends and public holidays 10.00 am to 10.15 am
  3.00 pm to 3.15 pm
  6.00 pm to 6.15 pm (with a 15 minute opening at 10.00 pm during daylight saving)

For opening of the bridges during the designated times above, vessel operators must give at least 10 minutes notice by phone on 1800 018 313 or VHF Channel 68 using call sign 'Prexy Bridges'.

Birkenhead bridge opening times

Day of the week Opening times
Weekdays 6.00 am to 11.00 pm
Weekends and public holidays 9.30 am to 6.30 pm (10.30 pm during daylight saving)

The bridge stays closed by default but can be opened on request during the designated times above. To open the bridge during these times, vessel operators must give give two hours notice by phone on 1800 018 313 or VHF Channel 68 using call sign 'Birkenhead Bridge'.

Applying to open the bridges at other times

If you are planning an event or other activity on the river that requires the bridges to open outside of the designated opening times, you will need to apply in writing at least six months in advance.

1. Apply for the bridges to open

Write to:
Manager, Metropolitan Region
37-41 The Parade
Norwood SA 5067

Your application should contain details of the event or activity being planned and the requirement for the bridges to be opened. The application will be assessed and you'll be advised in writing whether it has been approved.

2. Apply for an aquatic activity licence

Apply for an aquatic activity licence at least four weeks in advance if needed for an event.

3. Contact the duty bridge officer

Contact the duty bridge operator just prior to opening. Contact the operator no earlier than one hour before the approved opening time, and no later than 10 minutes prior, by telephone 1800 018 313 or VHF marine radio channel 68.

Note: at least two hours notice is required to open Birkenhead Bridge.

Bridge clearances

Most boats can pass under the Port River Expressway and Birkenhead bridges when closed.

Ensure that you know the height of your vessel to pass under the bridges safely and observe the traffic control signals and give way rules.

Port River Expressway bridges 8.6 metres clearance at the highest astronomical tide
Birkenhead bridge 5.4 metres clearance at the highest astronomical tide

Port River Expressway bridge: 8.6 metres clearance at Highest Astronomical Tide, 11.4 metres at low tide. Birkinhead bridge: 5.4 metres clearance at Highest Astronomical Tide, 8.2 metres at low tide. Port River Expressway and Birkinhead bridges have an approximately 29.5 metre wide navigational pass. Please note, the heights quoted make no allowances for any safety margin for tidal and wave action affecting vessel motion.


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Page last updated 15 February 2017

Provided by:
Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
URL:
https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/boating-and-marine/boat-operators-licences-and-permits/opening-the-port-river-bridges
Last Updated:
15/02/17
Printed on:
18/08/17
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