The first layer of asphalt has been laid on Sunshine Coast Airport’s new runway, marking a key milestone for the project.
In the lead up to the opening of the new runway on 21 May 2020, more than 400,000 tonnes – almost eight times the weight of the Sydney Harbour Bridge – of fine crushed rock and 64,000 tonnes of asphalt will be placed on top of a compacted sand embankment.
The project involves the construction of a north-west/south-east runway and associated infrastructure at the existing Sunshine Coast Airport, in Marcoola.
Works commenced in March 2019 and the project as a whole is scheduled for completion in late 2020.
The new runway will be bigger, wider and better aligned with prevailing winds so the community can access the world from the Sunshine Coast.
Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor and Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project (SCAEP) Project Control Group Chairman and Finance Portfolio Councillor, Tim Dwyer, said laying the asphalt was an important milestone as the new 2.5km long runway and 1.2km long taxiway enter the final phase of construction.
“The new runway has been on planning documents since the 1980s, so to be here where we can see the finishing touches being applied to the runway is a huge achievement,” Cr Dwyer said.
“By Christmas, more than half of the required gravel was in place, as well as the final layers of asphalt on the eastern end of the runway.
“This exciting milestone is only the tip of the iceberg for what is to come in the next few months.”
SCAEP Project Director, Ross Ullman, said paving the runway would continue in early 2020 as well as preparing for new aircraft apron bays, a 5km perimeter road, 7km of drainage channels and installation of 25km of lighting conduits on the new runway and taxiways.
The airport expansion project is the single largest construction project happening on the coast right now.
There are approximately 220 workers onsite each day with more than 200 of those being Sunshine Coast locals. A further 2,230 new full-time direct and indirect jobs will be created by 2040.
Approximately $85 million has been injected into the Sunshine Coast economy since the project commenced.
It is hoped that a new runway and better facilities will result in greater opportunities for travel, work, tourism and exporting businesses in our region.
“This is great news for the Sunshine Coast community – with under five months to go until the new runway takes off – it’s time for us all to get excited and start thinking about what this new piece of infrastructure can offer,” Cr Dwyer said.
“The airport expansion is helping to transform our economy and when completed, connect our healthy, smart, creative region to the rest of the world.”