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NEWS Last modified on July 8, 2015

Europe's roadwork planners can learn a lot about efficiency from Oslo Airport

To the chagrin of motorists, long lasting roadworks are a familar sight across Europe during the busy summer months, luckily airline passengers don't suffer the same fate as runway renovation projects have to be carried out quickly and cause the minimum of disruption to airport operations. 

Oslo Airport, for example, is currently resurfacing its entire west runway, and is carrying out the work in three phases in a bid to cause as little impact on operations as possible.

The runway remained open for business during the first two phases as airport operator, Avinor, was able to restrict the work to either end of it.

However, as the final phase involves the renovation of the central section, the airport will be forced to close the entire runway for four days, starting on Friday and will then complete the job between July 17-20.

“The last remaining project is paving the midsection. For that reason the west runway has to be completely closed to traffic,” confirms project manager, Runar Botten.

“The project has gone very well so far, and we have carried around 30,000 aircraft movements on the west runway during the project period. As a result, the airport has been operating at virtually full capacity."

Talking about the enforced closure, Botten, says: "It means that capacity at Oslo Airport will be somewhat limited, but with good planning by all parties, we believe traffic will proceed without too much disruption.

“The work is weather dependent and if heavy rain is forecast, we may have to move the third and final leg to the following weekend, but I hope not."

Due to subsequent finishing work the west runway will have periods of night closures in August.

Botten believes that contractor, Veidekke, has set a Norwegian record for the speed it has carried out the asphalt paving during the previous phases of the project.

“During the first leg we laid 18,500 tonnes of asphalt in three days," he says.

"In two shifts, a total of 140 people worked to complete the paving, and it was almost impossible to obtain asphalt in other places in Eastern Norway during this time.

“The asphalt plants in Sørlie and Ringsaker in Hedmark were on full stand-by and just at Sørlie, 24 asphalt trucks shuttled between the plant and the airport with one hour's drive each way. A total of 38 asphalt trucks were involved."

In total of 45,000 tonnes of asphalt will be laid in the project, which has a budget of €16.7 million.

Cheap and efficient, the guys that plan the summer roadworks across Europe have so much to learn!

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Joe Bates

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