Major earthworks have commenced on one of Australia’s biggest earthmoving tasks to date.
Construction on the new Western Sydney Airport site has moved ahead after CPB Contractors and joint venture partner Lendlease engineering were awarded the $644 million major earthworks contract back in September 2019.
A further $5.3 billion will be invested by the Australian government in equity to deliver the airport through the government-owned company, Western Sydney Airport.
More than a million worker hours have been clocked on the site already, after stage one of construction began in 2018. Around 1.8 million cubic metres of earth have already been moved.
1.6 kilometres of Badgerys Creek Road has also been realigned, paving the way for one of the gateways to the airport in 2026.
Western Sydney Airport executive general Jim Tragotsalos indicated that around 25 million cubic metres of earth will be moved to make way for the development of a new international terminal, roads, runway and rail.
“This is an exciting day not just for Western Sydney, but for the nation, as this transformational project marks its biggest milestone yet,” Tragotsalos said.
Tragotsalos said that for Western Sydney International, initial earthworks were “only the beginning”—covering a mere 6 per cent of the 1,780-hectare site.
“Major earthworks will see us moving up to 1 million cubic metres of earth a month, working across 67 per cent of the site, which is the entire footprint of the first stage of the Airport,” Tragotsalos said.
Works on the site—located around 44 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD—will involve hundreds of workers and more than 200 graders, dump trucks, scrapers, excavators and dozers.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said construction of the once-in-a-lifetime infrastructure project would transform Western Sydney.
“The airport and the surrounding aerotropolis will multiply job and economic benefits by attracting business and industry to the region,” Cormann said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the commencement of major earthworks marked a “monumental” milestone, signalling the project was on track to begin operations in 2026.
“The scale of the earthworks equate to over 10,000 Olympic swimming pools worth of earth being moved over the site with 12 storeys difference in height from top to bottom,” Morrison said.
Member for Lindsay Melissa McIntosh added that by 2026, more than 28,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created by the airport.
“The technical challenge ahead with the scale of earthworks will be a great learning opportunity for workers and apprentices in Western Sydney,” McIntosh said.
Market soundings have also begun for contracts including construction of the runways, internal roads and terminal precinct.