Featured image: Earthworks project on the Western Sydney International Airport. Image courtesy of Western Sydney Airport. 

Western Sydney International Airport (WSI) has been awarded the Outstanding Civil Infrastructure Project by the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, recognising the airport for its earthworks during construction.  

The Boomtown! Project of the Year Awards was established to acknowledge major projects that have or will significantly contribute to the sustainable growth of Greater Western Sydney.

WSI, together with the earthworks principal contractor, the CPB ACCIONA joint venture, received the award for what was one of the largest earthmoving projects in Australia’s history. 

The project is now in the running for the ‘Project of the Year’ to be awarded at a gala dinner on 16 November.

Approximately 27,000,000㎥ of earth was moved around the 1,780ha site, which is almost three times the size of Sydney Olympic Park.

The first sod was turned in September 2018 and the airport’s earthworks were completed in March 2023.

Nearly 6,000,000t of high-quality sandstone was brought in from rail and motorway tunnelling projects across Sydney to lay the foundations for crucial areas of the airport, including the runway, taxiways and terminal.

The Infrastructure Sustainability Council (ISC) recently recognised the project for its sustainability work, bestowing the highest rating level sanctioned by their rating scheme.

WSI CEO, Simon Hickey, said, the WSI earthworks project was about preparing the site to build an airport that will be transformational for Western Sydney. 

“More than 50 per cent of the workforce were locals from Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. That local employment is continuing now, during terminal and runway Construction,” Mr Hickey said. 

“A fleet of around 311 earthmoving machines, scrapers, excavators, dump trucks and dozers, were used on the project, including some of the world’s largest, the type you’d expect to see mega mining projects.”

CPB ACCIONA joint venture Project Director, Wayne Poulsen, said that the WSI project helped achieve leading economic, environmental, and social outcomes.

“Nearly 100 per cent of water required during the project was recycled water, reducing reliance on conventional water sources,” Mr Poulsen said.

“The project diverted over 11,600t of construction waste from landfill and achieved a 15 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions using renewable energy and efficient construction practices. 

“The airport is proud of our gender equality and inclusion in the earthworks project where 13 per cent of the mobile plant operators were female, more than triple the national average of 4 per cent. 

“The project successfully moved a million cubic metres of material per month, during the difficult conditions of La Niña and COVID-19.

“We are also proud of the environmental credentials achieved during the project which was recognised in an award for Environmental Excellence at the 2022 IECA conference for erosion control during La Niña.

The development of WSI continues, with terminal and runway construction now underway. More than 4000 workers are currently on site.

“WSI is set to open on schedule in late 2026, when the airport will connect Sydney to the world via Western Sydney,” Mr Hickey said.

“The airport will deliver more, high quality jobs for communities across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.”

Featured image: Earthworks project on the Western Sydney International Airport. Image courtesy of Western Sydney Airport. 

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