Beca widened the main runway to 75m to accommodate the new Airbus A380 aircraft, all within a 29-day construction window while maintaining airport operations on the cross runway.
With the arrival of the new generation Airbus A380, Melbourne Airport needed to upgrade its airport to accommodate the larger aircraft and to meet its long-term development plans. The main requirement was to widen the runway by an additional 7.5m on either side to meet the requirements for this size of aircraft.
Beca was appointed early in the design and consultation process to carry out concept stage studies. This included developing design criteria based on international precedents, interpretation of the design codes and assessment of various construction methods to suit operational constraints, not least the need to keep the airport fully operational throughout.
Beca followed up the preliminary studies with detailed design of civil works for the runway widening, along with design of slab replacement for the runway. This included developing and refining appropriate pavement designs.
A mass concrete solution was adopted near the intersection of two runways, as this work could only be carried out during a four to five hour window each night. The concrete could be produced quickly and involved fewer types of construction activity. For the main contract area, two pavement designs were prepared - a conventional flexible asphaltic surfaced pavement, and an unreinforced concrete option which was ultimately selected.
Construction was completed respecting the client’s budget and timing after a four-week runway closure and 24 hour, seven day construction programme. Beca's extensive technical knowledge and experience in airport engineering was vital in developing outcomes that addressed the extreme constraints posed by this project.