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Port Stephens Drive, Salamander Bay

Expected start monthExpected completion monthStatusBudgetContribution
August 2022 October 2023In progress$845k100 percent external funding

This project is being delivered by Port Stephens Council in partnership with and 100% funded by the NSW Koala Program.

Project description

The Port Stephens Drive Koala Vehicle Strike Project delivered in partnership with the NSW Koala Program, aims to reduce Koala fatalities along one of the worst Koala road-strike locations in NSW. During a 10 year period between 2010-2020 a total of 89 Koalas fatalities were reported along Port Stephens Drive

This area was identified as a blackspot under the NSW Koala Program. The project is designed to reduce the number of Koala deaths and injuries in this area.

The works will involve the installation of the following key components:

  • 3.7km of Koala-proof fencing along both sides of Port Stephens Drive
  • 850m of retrofitted Koala-proof fencing to the existing Horizons Golf Course fence
  • 1 x 20 m long box culvert fauna underpass
  • Koala grids (similar to cattle grids) across two road intersections
  • Koala connectivity structures (fence crossing poles and escape structures).

Koala-proof fencing helps direct Koalas away from threats and funnel them towards safe crossing points such as underpasses. The specifically-constructed Koala underpass provides a safe connectivity point for Koalas to move through habitats at Salamander Bay without having to cross Port Stephens Drive. Koala grids (similar to cattle grids) are impassable to Koalas as their legs can slip through the gaps made by the grids. Koala grids will be installed where the fencing crosses roads to help maintain Koala exclusion from Port Stephens Drive. A number of one-way Koala escape poles will also be installed along the fence line to allow Koalas that accidentally enter the road side to escape.

The project has brought together a range of stakeholders and specialists from Port Stephens Council, the Port Stephens Koala Hospital, Koala Koalition, Transport for NSW and the NSW Koala Program team to deliver an important project for conserving our local Port Stephens Koala population.

This project is expected to be completed prior to the 2023 Koala breeding season.


Would you like to know why we’ve designed the project this way? Click here to read the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment best practice document.

Latest updates

Both the fencing installation and the koala grids with associated gates and footpath connects are nearing completion.

Completing final works this week. The project is almost completed with some minor outstanding works to finish off.

Fencing installation continues with the majority of koala escape structures and access gates being installed over the past week. Koala grid install in Trades Court is progressing towards completion next week.

Fencing installation continues towards completion with sheet metal barriers being installed along the top of the fence. The koala grid across Trades Court was installed during night works earlier this week and the associated concrete works to provide pedestrian access around the grids will continue.

Fencing installation is nearing completion with the final installation of sheet metal barriers being installed along the top of the fences. The next koala grid installation in Trades Court gets underway with a road closure in place during night works this coming Sunday and Monday nights.

Our fencing contractor continues to install the wire and chain wire mesh. All of the new koala grids precast pieces arrived from QLD this week and our Construction team will commence installation of the 3 grids next week. A PDS team assisted in the removal of overgrown vegetation to allow for removal of the redundant fence along the golf course.

There has been plenty of progression in the recent weeks at the Koala Vehicle Strike Mitigation project, with works progressing on the koala protection fencing and koala escape structures. Works are continuing onsite preparing to modify drainage structures and footpaths to accommodate the new protection fence in the more complex parts of the site. In the coming weeks, we will commence the installation of the koala grids within the roadway to prevent koalas from entering the fenced area.

Koala fencing installation is progressing, with 50% of the fencing installed. The majority of tree clearing works are completed and trades have commenced concrete works on Trades Circuit and Taylors Beach Road intersections in preparation for the Koala Road Grids. Fencing works will continue until early September 2023, Koala grids are expected to be installed during early August 2023.

Council has planned construction works around Koala activity periods and has staged works to occur during periods of low Koala activity. Koala activity at Taylors Beach, however, is a known high activity area and Koalas commonly cross Port Stephens Drive at the location of the project.

Koalas have been sighted by the project’s Ecologist during project works, and activities were safely managed in accordance with Council’s Environmental Approvals to allow the furry friend to continue his leafy meal.

In order to manage Koala activity and safety during the project's construction, Koala exclusion fencing construction will be undertaken in a staged process. This allows Koalas to continue moving through the site until all escape structures and fence construction is completed.

Koala escape posts are installed at regular intervals along the fence line to allow Koalas to exit the area. The local Koalas will need to adjust to their new surroundings and we ask drivers to reduce speed and travel through the site with caution in case a Koala is finding its way through the project.


Pedestrian fencing has been retained along the Horizons Golf Course boundary to maintain security requirements.

Koala proof flashing will be attached to the security fencing to ensure Koalas cannot climb the security fencing. The remainder of the Koala fencing is built to the Transport for NSW standards, which offers minimal maintenance costs and is most effective for Koala control.

The galvanised fencing materials used offer the best value for money and the longest lifespan in our coastal conditions.

Please do not touch or approach the Koala, please call Port Stephens Koala Hospital for Assistance, 1800 PS KOALAS (1800 775 625) a member of their team is available 24/7.

Security style fencing has been retained along the Horizons Golf Course boundary to ensure security requirements are maintained.

In some sections, we are retrofitting the existing golf course fence with metal sheeting to provide koala exclusion, and in some sections, we need to install new fencing.

Where we are installing new fencing along the golf course there will temporarily be a “double fence” until the old fence is removed.

The newly constructed fence will also have metal sheeting installed to provide koala exclusion as well as security to the golf course.

Council is required to follow processes to undertake work and these processes have taken a little longer than expected. This area is highly sensitive and environmental due diligence activities have taken some time to complete satisfactorily.

Koala grids (similar to cattle grids) are specifically designed metal grids installed on a roadway which are impassable to Koalas. Grids are utilised in conjunction with Koala exclusion fencing to discourage Koalas from entering a hazardous roadway, or walking through a gap in the fence where a fence crosses a road or driveway. The project’s Koala grids are complaint with design standards provided by Transport for NSW, which have been developed based on best available data and monitoring.

Council, in conjunction with the Department of Planning & Environment, and specialist consultants, undertook a feasibility study in 2020 to determine the most appropriate Koala control options and locations for reducing Koala road strikes along Port Stephens Drive. Key considerations included: impacts on traffic movements, landowners, maintenance costs, effectiveness and environmental impacts. The Koala Grids have been located on Taylors Beach Road and Trades Circuit to minimise impacts to traffic, allow for safe pedestrian and cyclist access and also ensure Koala exclusion is maintained to Port Stephens Drive.

A self-closing gate and concrete ramp is located next to each Koala Grid for safe pedestrian and cyclist access around the grid. All pedestrians and cyclists are requested to utilise the gates to ensure safe access across the grids. Grid warning signage will also be installed at each grid. It's important that gates are not propped open, and that they remain closed when not in use to minimise risk of Koalas entering the roadway.