One of the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the double-decker Airbus A380, has forced a major redevelopment of Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport. Melbourne has already spent $220 million and is spending another $330 million on upgrading its airstrips and terminals.
Although the Airbus, with its 30-metre-wide wheelbase, can operate on some standard 45-metre-wide runways, many runways around the world – including Melbourne’s – have had to be widened. In Melbourne’s case, the runway had been widened 15 metres – 7.5 metres each side – for a new total width of 60 metres. The widening was done as with accompanying work on the tarmac, taxiways and parking spaces for the aircraft, as well as a major expansion of terminal buildings to cope with increased traffic.
Armstrong Construction was one contractor employed for the removal and replacement of the tarmac. A civil engineering contractor since 1975, Armstrong’s specialise in all aspects of pipeline works: sewer, water, drainage and gas. For over 35 years, they have undertaken construction works for all major water companies, regional water and sewerage authorities, local government, statutory authorities, land developers and other private clients.
With a fleet of existing Indeco breakers, Armstrong’s quickly put their Indeco HP9000’s to work. While the tarmac proved no problem for the HP9000, the timing to complete the runway widening and breaking of new rock was once again significant. Impressed with their existing HP9000’S, Armstrong’s also decided to add a bigger HP12000 to their fleet. The project provided an unusual backdrop to the usual sites around Melbourne, but the main obstacle this time wasn’t the rock, but rather the heavy schedule of planes circling the surrounding runways.
As well as Indeco hammers, an Indeco IFP1250 Pulverizer was also used in the redevelopment and demolition of the terminal buildings, by contractors G and M Aldridge. This was the first Indeco pulverizer purchased by Aldridge but has been working constantly since being contracted. Stage 1 of the terminal redevelopment is just one part of a five-year expansion plan for Melbourne Airport that represents one of the largest infrastructure investments undertaken in Victoria over that period, with approximately 1000 people employed in its construction.
The expansion plans represent the largest upgrade to Melbourne Airport’s facilities since it was built in the 1960s. With 27,450 tonnes of concrete, 2000 tonnes of steel, 20km of cabling, 15km of hydroponic heating pipes, 5900 square metres of tiling and 3800 square metres of glass being used in the expansion, the Indeco pulverizers and other equipment have been kept extremely busy but kept up to the high demand.