Dredging began on June 4 and favourable weather over the last six months allowed the Belgian dredge ‘Charles Darwin’ to pump ashore nearly 11 million cubic metres of sand from the site at Middle Banks adjacent to the main shipping channel in Moreton Bay.
In total, the dredge has made 467 trips and the final sand pump marks the beginning of the end of phase one of the A$1.3 billion (€943 million) project, which began in August 2012 with the felling, clearing and mulching of casuarina trees on the 360 hectare site.
Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and managing director, says collaborative project management and detailed planning contributed to the completion of this stage of the project, well ahead of schedule.
“This is a milestone moment and a credit to BAC’s New Parallel Runway team and the team from Jan de Nul delivering this critical stage of our new runway so efficiently while maintaining the environmental credentials of Moreton Bay, the safety of everyone working on the site and airport operations.
“It is no coincidence, rather a result of years of intense planning and constant and consistent attention to detail at all stages of the project. I applaud each and every person involved for their commitment and hard work.
“The NPR is a significant piece of infrastructure for our airport, for our city, for our state and for our nation. By 2030, over A$5 billion (€3.3 billion) of economic benefits will be brought into this immediate region as a result of the increased capacity that this runway system will give us.
“When complete, Brisbane Airport, without any doubt, will be the most efficient airport in Australia and amongst one of the most efficient airports in the world,” Alroe explains.
Paul Coughlan project director NPR says the new runway was being built on swampland, which needed to be stabilised prior to the next phase of construction.
“The runway site was once part of the Brisbane River delta and one of the key challenges has been to consolidate the existing soft subsoil on the site which has the consistency of tooth paste.
“The sand platform on the worst ground conditions measures eight metres above the original ground level which will be left to compact for the next two to three years with some sections of the site already settled by over one metre,” he explains.
Work on phase two of the project to finalise the design and layout of the airfield, taxiways, airfield lighting and navigational aids, is already well underway, and Brisbane’s New Parallel Runway is due to become operational in 2020.