Brisbane Airport New Parallel Runway Update

The raised platforms of sand will be the base for the new taxiways linking the NPR to the existing airport. Image supplied.

With such a long construction timeline, it is easy to forget that Brisbane Airport’s $1.3 billion New Parallel Runway (NPR) is very much underway and is now around half way through it’s eight year construction program.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) forecasts that annual passenger numbers will grow from 22 million in 2014 to around 50 million by 2035 which is why the NPR project has been central to corporation’s $3.5 billion decade long infrastructure expenditure investment program.

NPR PHASE 1 – SITE PREPARATORY WORKS

1. Civil Works: 1 year ALL COMPLETED
  • Site compound built.
  • New access roads completed.
  • Site footprint cleared of vegetation.
  • Major new floodway drain constructed.
  • Services relocated.
  • Pipeline under cross runway (14/32) completed.
2. Dredging and Reclamation Works: ALL COMPLETED
  • Temporary sand pipeline laid between Luggage Point and the NPR site to pump sand ashore.
  • 330,000 vertical (wick) drains driven into the poor underlying soils to fast track drainage on the site.
  • 11 million cubic metres of sand extracted from Middle Banks, Moreton Bay and placed at
    different heights across the site to achieve the required consistent ground settlement.
  • Settlement monitoring plates installed to measure the extent of ground settlement.
  • Sand treated with stabilising agent to prevent windblown erosion.
  • Pipeline and dredge mooring removed.

3. Ground Settlement Period: 2 – 4 years
  • Sand and wick drains left in place to consolidate the underlying soils.

NPR PHASE 2 – PAVEMENT AND AIRFIELD CONSTRUCTION: 2 – 3 YEARS

  • Excess sand pushed off once required ground settlement has been achieved.
  • New 3300m runway and 12 km of taxiway pavements laid.
  • Airfield infrastructure including navigational aids, lighting, signage, access roads, airfield landscaping and security fencing installed.
  • New approach and departure paths approved.
The raised platforms of sand will be the base for the new taxiways linking the NPR to the existing airport. Image supplied
The raised platforms of sand will be the base for the new taxiways linking the NPR to the existing airport. Image supplied.
New Parallel Runway operational by 2020.

The massive dredging and reclamation portion of the project started pumping sand in June 2014 and all works to effect the necessary ground improvements were completed in June 2015.

The New Parallel Runway (NPR) site, located on part of the old Brisbane River delta, is very low lying and is characterised by extremely poor strength soils.

The Dredging and Reclamation Works involved the engineered placement of nearly 11 million cubic metres of clean marine sand from Moreton Bay to fill and surcharge the site.

Aerial image of link taxiway. Image supplied.
Aerial image of link taxiway. Image supplied.

The weight of the sand working in conjunction with 330,000 wick drains, vertically inserted to depths of up to 30m deep, will cause the ground to consolidate into a suitable foundation on which to build the new runway and taxiways.  Ground settlement is progressing as expected with the softest parts of the site having settled up to 3m since sand placement.

Overlapping with the completion of Phase 1, Phase 2 began in 2015 when Jacobs was appointed as design engineers. Design and documentation has progressed in order for the first of the three main contract packages, the Seawall and Site Access Works, have recently commenced last April with two larger contracts for a new road underpass as well as the airfield works to be released for tender later this year.

Once the NPR is completed, Brisbane Airport will have the same level of capacity as Hong Kong and Singapore airports and will give Brisbane the best runway system in Australia.

The NPR project is on track to be operational in 2020.

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