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Western Sydney Airport to commence major earthworks in 2020

written by australianaviation.com.au | September 2, 2019

An artist's impression of the Western Sydney Airport site at Badgerys Creek. (Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities)
An artist’s impression of the Western Sydney Airport site at Badgerys Creek. (Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities)

Western Sydney Airport says major earthworks that involves shifting about 25 million cubic metres earth are set to begin in early 2020.

The airport has awarded its major earthworks contract to a Lend Lease and CBP Contractors joint-venture to carry out the work.

Initial estimates had the work estimated at 22 million cubic metres of earth. However, the airport said on Sunday this had been revised up to 25 million cubic metres due to improvements to the terminal’s layout.

While Western Sydney Airport had intended to split the work up into two contacts, the feedback from industry from the tender process led to the decision to award a single contract for the major earthworks project.

“After considering pressure on construction market resources and personnel, we had originally intended to split major earthworks into two contracts,” chief executive Graham Millett said in a statement.


“It was encouraging to see the appeal that working on the airport carries across the construction industry, with the market participants putting their hand up to take on the entire major earthworks project under one contract.”

An indicative timeline of key milestones during the construction of the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.
An indicative timeline of key milestones during the construction of the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek.

CPB Contractors managing director Juan Santamaria said Western Sydney Airport represented the latest major infrastructure project contract win for the company.

“This builds on CPB Contractors’ growing list of airport infrastructure projects including the taxiway upgrade at Auckland Airport and the airfield works for the new runway at Brisbane Airport,” Santamaria said in a statement on Monday.

“CPB Contractors has a strong portfolio of major transport projects, including Sydney Metro and WestConnex in NSW, West Gate Tunnel and Melbourne Metro in Victoria and Cross River Rail in Queensland.”

Construction of the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek began in September 2018, when bulldozers arrived to move about 1.8 million cubic metres of earth to prepare the ground for the eventual runway and terminal construction.

This work, covering about six per cent of the 1780-hectare site, has already moved 1.5 million cubic metres of earth was expected to be completed by the end of calendar 2019, the airport said.

“Visitors to the site often comment about the immense scale of work underway, but I tell them this is nothing compared to the major earthworks phase,” Millett said.

The airport has also recently opened applications from construction companies to build the passenger terminal.

“The contract includes construction of the first stage of Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport’s integrated international and domestic passenger terminal precinct, including the baggage handling system, security systems, IT network and aerobridges,” Western Sydney Airport said on August 30.

In June 2019, Western Sydney Airport said it had shortlisted five architectural teams to design the terminal, with the winner expected to be named by the end of 2019.

Early indiciative concepts of what Western Sydney Airport could look like in its mature phases. (WSA Co)
Early indiciative concepts of what Western Sydney Airport could look like in its mature phases. (WSA Co)

Visitor centre opens

On Monday, the airport officially opened its visitors centre, giving the community an opportunity to learn more about the project as it is being built.

The facility included an augmented reality preview of the airport, interactive digital exhibits and information about the development of the site presented on floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

“The experience centre will give the chance to be a part of the Airport’s journey to community groups, school excursions and anyone who wants to learn more,” Millett said.

In March, the Australian government said the airport would be named Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport in honour of one of the country’s greatest aviators.

PODCAST: Chief executive Graham Millett spoke with the Australian Aviation podcast in November 2018. To listen to the episode, click here.

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Comments (5)

  • Mike Sparkes


    Can we watch the construction online?

  • Russell M


    The quote below is taken from an ABC website looking back at this airport development.

    June 1992: Construction commences
    Then-aviation minister Bob Collins turned the first sod at Badgerys Creek and declared it would become one of the most important airports in the southern hemisphere.
    It was anticipated the Badgerys Creek airport would be operational in 1995.

    27 years later, we’re excited to hear that major earthworks will commence in 2020.
    Wow……Wellcamp anyone?

  • Rod Pickin


    I am assuming that the “early indicative concept” is what the finished product will look like but, the detail looks a bit lite on. My hope is that all industry users/supporters have been widely canvassed for their views and that we will get a user friendly and practical outcome and not a political non practical compromise as we have seen in the past. I am keen to see details of the rail access plus normal road access plans into the arena. It would be good to see detailed space allocation for freight handling both domestic and international and have huge players like Qube and Pacific National been invited to participate in the formation of such a huge “Freight Park”. Whilst we have the opportunity, has any consideration been given to a “heavy maintenance” aircraft area usable for both domestic and military operators. I am sure that other options should be considered but they must be on the agenda now and not ten years down the track, we don’t want what happened to Brisbane domestic airport being repeated this time. For those too young to recall, the current terminal was to be duplicated by a mirror reversal but, that didn’t happen and can’t either now.

  • Ashley


    @Rod: Yeah, it’s a shame that Brisbane has ended up with a mish-mash of incoherent terminals that don’t tie into each other.
    For an airport with abundant space, they have wasted a great opportunity to create Australia’s best airport.

    It’s a shame they haven’t thought big with Western Sydney. I was hoping they would futureproof the design and plan for 4 active runways at least.

  • Can we have some Aboriginal designs on the new Airport would be a great draw card for overseas people coming in

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