Work on a low impact piling system is underway at Gold Coast Airport in preparation for new aerobridges as part of the airport’s $200 million Southern Terminal Expansion project.

Construction company, Lendlease, has begun the work on the project, which will double the footprint of the existing terminal, delivering a new departure lounge, aerobridges, border control facilities and additional retail space.

A brand-new, 80 tonne continuous flight auger (CFA) piling rig has been mobilised to site to construct foundations ahead of the eventual construction of aerobridges to connect aircraft to the new terminal.

Gold Coast Airport Property and Infrastructure Executive General Manager, Carl Bruhn, said work on the first of 224 piles for the project had begun, using innovative techniques necessitated by the sensitive nature of the site.

“It’s exciting for us to see the first piles drilled and poured on the aircraft apron where we will be constructing the new terminal’s four aerobridges,” Mr Bruhn said.

“Aerobridges have been on the ‘wish list’ of many of our passengers and this is the first tangible step towards delivering those.”

“It is essential our current airport operations are not impacted by this construction activity, so we have had to work closely with our building contractor, Lendlease, to come up with solutions to minimise the impact wherever possible – both for passengers and surrounding residents.”

The 30m tall piling rig will excavate and place 2500m³ of concrete into 224 piles over the duration of the project, with pile diameters ranging from 600mm to 1050mm. It is expected about four to eight piles will be installed each day.

To minimise disruption, piling reinforcement cages will be prefabricated off site and installed with a 60ft crawler crane. If all of the piles were laid out in a straight line, they would span a total distance of approximately 2.6km.

Lendlease Building Queensland General Manager, Brad Protheroe, said the company had decided to use the continuous flight auger (CFA) piling system, which minimises disruption to surrounding infrastructure.

“The CFA piling system allows us to drill to the final depth in one continuous process, with stability to the surrounding soil reinforced along the way,” Mr Protheroe said.

“At the same time the auger is withdrawn from the hole, concrete is pumped into the cavity through the hollow centre of the auger pipe to the base, meaning the hole is never left open or unsupported. Reinforcement is then placed into the concrete to complete the pile.

“This type of piling technique is considered the best solution for the structural loads and soil conditions on the Gold Coast Airport project as it is virtually vibration-free, minimising the impact on adjacent infrastructure.

“It also minimises the noise impacts during construction on surrounding neighbours.”

Future construction milestones will see completion of the ground floor slab in coming months, topping out of the building in mid 2020 and the opening of the terminal in mid 2021. When the southern terminal expansion is complete, work will begin on the existing terminal refurbishment.

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