Brisbane Airport says new taxiways linking the new parallel runway with the domestic and international terminals and the rest of the airfield have been completed.
The construction of the taxiways would allow for the opening of a public road under the taxiways in late September for access to airport facilities such as the general aviation terminal, Royal Flying Doctor Service and plane spotters’ area.
Brisbane Airport chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said the completion of the taxiways was a significant milestone in the new runway project, which began in 2012 and was due to be finished by 2020.
“As the finish line for the construction of the biggest aviation project in Australia draws close it is easy to forget just how much planning it has taken to get to this point,” de Graaff said in a statement on Thursday.
“Brisbane’s new runway has been on Master Plan documents since the 1970s, so to be here where we can physically stand on taxiways and see the foundations of the runway being laid is a huge achievement for the thousands of people who have been involved with this project since its very early days.”
The new runway, which will be 3,300m long and 60m wide, is located about two kilometres to the west of existing Runway 01/19 on what was previously a 360ha greenfield site.
Once fully operational in 2020, the runway was estimated to effectively double Brisbane Airport’s current capacity, drawing comparisons with Singapore’s Changi and Hong Kong International.
Brisbane Airport has said previously it expected annual passenger traffic through its domestic and international would more than double from 22 million in 2014 to 50 million by 2035. It also forecast the number of annual aircraft movements would grow from 227,000 currently to 360,000 by 2035 and 500,000 by 2045.
VIDEO: An overview of the construction of the third runway from Brisbane Airport’s YouTube channel.
de Graaff said work on the runway was ongoing at a great pace.
“While this milestone is a great achievement for the project, it is only the tip of the iceberg for what is to come in the next few months,” de Graaff said.
“The focus now is on the physical runway and broader taxiway systems which are starting to take shape with the initial base layers of crushed rock already being placed, working from the centre out.
“Along with the runway and taxiway construction, comes a multitude of other activities such as the construction of the High Intensity Approach Lighting system to both the north and south of the runway centreline, and landscaping the 300ha site ahead of opening in mid-2020.”
The road works contract, worth $120 million, was won by McConnell Dowell Constructors in 2017.
The company’s managing director Jim Frith described the road works as an “engineering feat”, with the taxiway bridges designed to withstand about 710 tonnes, or the weight of a fully-laden Airbus A380.
“To put the complexity of this project into perspective, the Underpass is being constructed five metres below sea level, meaning that the dewatering system is required to remove the equivalent of the volume of two Olympic swimming pools in a single, 24-hour period, while the physical structure is comprised of approximately 20,000m3 of concrete, and 4,000 tonne of reinforced steel,” Frith said.
The January/February 2018 edition of Australian Aviation magazine took a closer look at Brisbane Airport’s new parallel runway. It can be read here.
Some supplied artist renderings of Brisbane Airport’s new parallel runway