Brisbane’s New Runway Achieves Construction Milestone

Photo credit: Brisbane Airport/

The construction of Brisbane’s new runway has achieved a critical milestone with the completion of the first portions of the link taxiways. The completed works will connect the new runways system with the existing system and terminals.

The recent milestone is part of the $120 million Dryandra Road Underpass contract, which includes the delivery of a public roadway. The public roadway, due to open in late September, will travel under the taxiways. It will allow access to the General Aviation Precinct and the Plane Spotters’ Area on Acacia Street.

Brisbane’s New Runway – Project Overview

Video credit: Brisbane Airport/YouTube

“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,” Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Chief Executive Officer, Gert-Jan de Graaff said.

“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,” he said.

The milestone is a great achievement for the project; it is, however, just the “tip of the iceberg”. Together with the runway and taxiway construction, a number of other constructions will also be underway like the High Intensity Approach Lighting system to both the north and south of the runway centreline and the landscaping of the 300ha site, Mr de Graaff said. These constructions will be completed ahead of the opening in mid-2020.

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Landing on Brisbane’s New Runway

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“The Underpass is an engineering feat, being 1.6 metres thick at the deepest point, these bridges are designed to withstand the weight of a fully-laden A380 as well as any planned, future variants,”Jim Frith, McConnell Dowell Managing Director said.

The Underpass, being constructed five metres below sea level, will require a de-watering system that will remove the equivalent of the volume of two Olympic swimming pools in a single, 24-hour period. The physical structure, on the other hand, is comprised of approximately 20,000 m3 of concrete and 4,000 tonne of reinforced steel.

The enormity and complexity of the construction works also meant the employment of around 300 people, Mr Frith said.

Brisbane’s New Runway – Construction Timelapse

Video credit: Brisbane Airport/YouTube

Brisbane’s new runway by the numbers

  • Brisbane’s new runway site is 360 hectares (2.5 times the size of the Brisbane City CBD)
  • The runway is 3.3 km long and 60 metres wide
  • The taxiway system will be made up of 12 km of taxiways (25 metres wide)
  • The runway is made up of three layers: 2,475 mm sand, 600 mm of crushed rock and 125 mm asphalt
  • The taxiways are made up of three layers: 1,500 mm sand, 200 mm crushed rock and 490 mm of concrete.

Project contribution to SEQ:

  • 90 per cent of project employees live in South East Queensland (SEQ)
  • 90 per cent of construction equipment to be sourced from SEQ
  • Up to 675 people to work directly on the project during peak period
  • Additional $5 billion in annual economic benefit to the region by 2035
  • 7,800 jobs generated by the new runway by 2035

Dryandra Road Underpass

  • 750,000 cubic metres of sand was moved for construction of the underpass
  • 5 km of water and sewer pipes were installed
  • 35 km of conduits installed
  • Nearly 20,000 cubic metres of heavily reinforced concrete poured
  • More than 700 concrete piles driven to an average depth of more than 30 metres below ground level
  • 1.1 km of separated roadway
  • Four lanes – two airside, two landside
  • Designed to withhold the weight of a fully-laden A380 and future variants (approx. 710 tonne)
  • More than 700 metres of sheet piles installed