Construction has officially kicked off at the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison turning the first sod on the ground-breaking project earlier this week.
Sydney’s second airport is due to open in 2026, providing a full service airport with a site that is almost twice the size of the Kingsford Smith Airport.
The initial earthworks phase of construction will be no easy task. Expected to take until the end of 2019, it will involve moving around 1.8 million cubic metres of earth, which is the equivalent of about 720 Olympic swimming pools.
According to Western Sydney Airport Chief Executive, Graham Millett the difference between the highest and lowest points of the site is the equivalent of a 12-storey building
“These initial earthworks will help prepare the ground for eventual runway and terminal construction,” Mr Millett said.
Major earthworks will begin next year and will prove an even greater challenge. They will involve shifting 22 million cubic metres of earth, more than three times the amount moved to build the nearby, 41-kilometre M7 motorway.
“Building Western Sydney Airport is one of the biggest earthmoving challenges in Australian history,” Mr Millett said.
A new era for the west
Once complete the airport will cater to international, domestic, regional and freight flights. The freight flights will open up new possibilities for Australian exporters, and help to tackle the nation’s growing freight task.
Around 11,000 jobs will be created over the course of the airport’s construction, with at least one-third of these to come from Western Sydney. The airport will also help support more than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs five years after it opens.
“Western Sydney Airport will generate prosperity in the region – our local employment target means that starts now,” Mr Millett said.
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