Brisbane’s New Runway enters final construction phase with award of Airfield Contract

new runway under construction
Image of new runway under construction

Brisbane Airport’s new runway is on track to open in 2020 with the award of the Airfield Works contract to Skyway, a joint venture (JV) between BMD Construction Pty Ltd and CPB Contractors Pty Limited, a member of the CIMIC Group.

Both companies have a strong connection to Queensland and to Brisbane Airport.

Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, said, “Given the long history of this project which had its earliest planning stages in the 1970s, it is a significant milestone to announce today the successful contractor for the largest, final and most expensive package of works to bring Brisbane’s new runway to life.

“That Skyway joint venture partners have a long and storied history with Brisbane Airport, and such strong local pedigree, is particularly pleasing,” Ms Alroe said.

“The new runway was the most important piece of aviation infrastructure being built in Queensland and the biggest undertaken by BAC since the airport was privatised in 1997.

“It is a $1.2 to $1.3 billion privately funded investment that, when operational in 2020, will provide unlimited opportunities for the growth of our city, state and, ultimately, our nation.

Photo of construction work on Brisbane’s new runway

“To put our investment in this project into context, BAC bought the entire airport for $1.38 billion, almost 20 years ago to the day.

“Over the past two decades, BAC has privately invested more than $3.4 billion in upgrading and expanding this critical piece of public infrastructure, with a great deal of this development geared to increasing capacity and improving the travelling experience for airline passengers.

“Importantly, through privatisation, not one cent of the billions of dollars invested in this critical infrastructure has come from the government purse,” Ms Alroe said.

Adolfo Valderas, CIMIC Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “BMD Constructions and CPB Contractors, as the Skyway JV, have brought together a team of expertise and agility to ensure an efficient and cost-effective works program.

“We are committed to ensuring that the project’s planned operational, social and economic benefits are achieved through innovative and sustainable solutions – and that we deliver a quality asset of long-term value for Brisbane Airport and the people of Queensland,” Mr Valderas said.

While BMD Construction is ‘book-ending’ the new runway’s construction, having been a key contractor in the first phase of the project, Joint Venture partner, CPB Contractors, is book-ending the construction of Brisbane Airport proper.

Photo of construction work on Brisbane’s new runway

In the 1980s CPB Contractors was the managing contractor for the construction of the airport as we know it today, overseeing delivery of the runway, taxiways, the Domestic Terminal and the iconic air traffic control tower, all of which opened in 1988.

Brisbane’s new runway is currently the largest aviation infrastructure project under construction in Australia. It includes a 3,300m long x 60m wide runway, over 12km of taxiways, as well as all necessary airfield infrastructure including navigational aids, lighting, multiple utilities, signage, operational roads, drainage, security fencing, control systems and  approx. 300 hectares of airfield landscaping.

BAC’s investment in this final stage of works, including the Airfield Works contract, is worth more than $500 million and will take close to three years to complete.  It is an enormous undertaking with the vast majority of large value components being locally sourced.

Photo of construction work on Brisbane’s new runway

By the Numbers

  • Project expenditure ($) by region – overall breakdown:

South East Queensland – 89 per cent

Peak labour resources – up to 90 per cent is anticipated to be sourced locally:

– 60 managerial, engineering and supervisory staff
– 60 trade level wages employees/ subcontractors
– 150 plant operators
– 130 skilled labour

Plant resources – up to 90 per cent is anticipated to be sourced locally:

– Earthworks/compaction and haulage plant and equipment – 50 excavators, scrapers, compactors and trucks
– Paving equipment – 20 pavers, batch plants and materials handling items
– Construction/ lifting equipment –30 cranes, loaders, piling plant and barges

Queensland – 3 per cent

Australia – 4 per cent

International – 4 per cent (predominantly airport lighting materials)

  • 360 ha site
  • 11 million cubic metres of sand pumped (dredged and hydraulically placed) onto the site – completed in 2014.
  • 330,000 wick drains measuring 8 million linear metres (largest wick drain project in Australia) – completed in 2014.
  • 5,000,000 m3 of earthworks to be manually undertaken on site.
  • 260,000 m3 of topsoil to be generated from on site, supplemented with approx. 15,000 m3 imported from local sources.
  • Up to 300 ha of landscaping, turf and seeds to be sourced locally.
  • 750,000 t of quarry products (sourced and transported locally).
  • 100,000 t of aircraft grade asphalt (prepared on site from local products).
  • 380,000 t of aircraft grade concrete (prepared on site from local products).
  • Up to 1250 million litres of recycled water.
  • 16km of drainage pipes (likely to be local).
  • Over 400 people working directly on the project site during the peak period (this does not include off site client, consultant and supplier jobs, or Dryandra Road work underpass contract, which is employing, at its peak, more than 200).

How Brisbane’s New Runway will be built

Preparation (20 month program*)

  • Set up Compounds for peak 400 workers (water, toilet facilities, offices, crib huts etc)
  • Excavate and remove sand to sand design level (5M cubic metres)
  • Proof roll sand by flooding the sand (with water pumped from Kedron Brook Floodway) and rolling with special rolling machines to consolidate the sand for uniform base material.

Pavement Production (21 month program*)

  • Establish batch plants for concrete, crushed rock and asphalt to form a production line of pavement materials
  • Haul materials from quarries (about total of 1.25 million tonnes) to stockpile on site and feed the production line to make the different pavement layers and the concrete mixtures (different recipes of rock and additive ingredients for each component)
  • Pavement material then placed by paver machines and hand placed – 3.3km runway (mostly asphalt), around 12 km of taxiways (all concrete)

Airport Lighting (24 month program*)

  • Install all airport lighting:
    1. drill holes (over 2000) in pavement every 30m on either side and down the centre of each taxiway and every 15m down the centre of the runway;
    2. place light cans in hole and connect each of them up to their own power source to the side of the runway (part of the 40km of electrical wiring),
    3. build Airport Lighting Electrical Rooms and connect to control systems in the tower
    4. construct HIAL structures into Moreton Bay and at the southern end of the runway

Airfield (26 month program*)

  • Install drainage (open and in-ground)
  • landscaping (including recycled water, onsite topsoil production and turf and stolonisation as designed)
  • Install all Movement Area Guidance Signs (runway system street names)
  • Line marking including runway ends ‘piano keys’, edge lines and hold points

 Services and Systems (12 month program*)

  • Install all other electrical wiring e.g. to all navigation aids, weather instruments etc.
  • Communications fibre ring around the whole airfield; and
  • Control system installation testing and commissioning.

Navigation Aids (12 month program*)

  • Additional clearing and replanting
  • Prepare sites (electrical, water and parking for Airservices to install equipment including: Instrument Landing System (ILS) = Localiser (horizontal) and Glide Slope (vertical), ASMGS (Surface Movement Guidance System), SMR Tower and relay units

* Some stages run concurrently

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