Sunshine Coast’s new airport runway has reached a critical milestone this week with the first layer of asphalt being laid.
In the lead up to the opening of the new runway on May 21, 2020, more than 400,000 tonnes—almost eight times the weight of the Sydney Harbour Bridge—of fine crushed rock and 64,000 tonnes of asphalt will be placed on top of a compacted sand embankment.
Sunshine Coast Council Deputy Mayor and Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project (SCAEP) Project Control Group Chairman and Finance Portfolio Councillor Tim Dwyer said laying the asphalt was an important milestone as the new 2.5 kilometre long runway and 1.2 kilometre long taxiway enter the final phase of construction.
“The new runway has been on planning documents since the 1980s, so to be here where we can see the finishing touches being applied to the runway is a huge achievement,” Cr Dwyer said.
“By Christmas we expect to have more than half of the required gravel in place, as well as the final layers of asphalt on the eastern end of the runway.
“This exciting milestone is only the tip of the iceberg for what is to come in the next few months.
Cr Dwyer said a new runway and better facilities would mean greater opportunities for travel, work, tourism and exporting businesses in our region.
“This is great news for the Sunshine Coast community – with just under five months to go until the new runway takes off – it’s time for us all to get excited and start thinking about what this new piece of infrastructure can offer.
“The airport expansion is helping to transform our economy and when completed, connect our healthy, smart, creative region to the rest of the world,” he said.
SCAEP Project Director Ross Ullman said paving the runway would continue in early 2020 as well as preparing for new aircraft apron bays, a five-kilometre perimeter road, seven kilometres of drainage channels and installation of 25 kilometres of lighting conduits on the new runway and taxiways.
The airport expansion project is the single largest construction project happening on the coast right now. There are approximately 220 workers onsite each day with more than 200 of those being Sunshine Coast locals. A further 2,230 new full-time direct and indirect jobs will be created by 2040.
Approximately $85 million has been injected into the Sunshine Coast economy since the project commenced.
Sunshine Coast Council is building a new north-west/south-east runway and associated infrastructure at the existing Sunshine Coast Airport, in Marcoola. Construction of the new runway started in March 2019 and it will be opened on 21 May 2020. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2020.
The new runway will be bigger, wider and better aligned with prevailing winds so our community can access the world from the Sunshine Coast.
The project includes:
• a new 2.45-kilometre long by 45-metre wide north-west/south-east runway, capable of servicing aircraft such as the A350 and B787
• a parallel taxiway
• changes to airspace and flight paths
• an expansion of the apron at the existing terminal.