Sunshine Coast Airport new runway tarmac. Pictured, Gareth Williamson general manager aviation business development and Ross Ullman project director Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion. Photo: Patrick Woods
Sunshine Coast Airport new runway tarmac. Pictured, Gareth Williamson general manager aviation business development and Ross Ullman project director Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion. Photo: Patrick Woods

$334m airport expansion project named Qld’s best

A team described as the "Andy Murray of built infrastructure" played the key role in delivering Sunshine Coast Council a win for Queensland's best project.

The council has won project of the year and projects over $10 million at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia Queensland for its $334 million airport expansion project.

Economic development portfolio councillor Jason O'Pray said the accolades were a great honour.

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Cr O'Pray is confident the project will win the national award for best project of the year, when it is presented next year.

"The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project is the largest single infrastructure project council has ever been involved in, or is likely to be involved in again," Cr O'Pray said.

Cr O'Pray said the award was well deserved by project director Ross Ullman and built infrastructure group executive Tom Jamieson, who is not related to Mayor Mark Jamieson, and their teams.

He said they were the Andy Murray or the Chicago Bulls of built infrastructure.

"The project reached a major milestone in June this year with the completion of the 2.45km runway and accompanying taxiways," Cr O'Pray said.

Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion project director Ross Ullman accepts the award for Queensland's best project of the year.
Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion project director Ross Ullman accepts the award for Queensland's best project of the year.

To illustrate the size of the project, Cr O'Pray said there was 1.3 million cubic metres of sand from the Spitfire Channel in Moreton Bay, transported to Marcoola three times a day.

The sand forms the foundation of the 2.45km runway.

Mr Ullman said there was also 400,000 tonnes of fine crushed rock and 64,000 tonnes of asphalt placed on the runway, topped with 409 lights powered by more than 50km of electrical cabling.

Cr O'Pray said the project took a combined 1.1 million work hours to complete, and there was no lost time due to injury.

Sunshine Coast Airport runway expansion May 2020
Sunshine Coast Airport runway expansion May 2020

"Of particular significance was the outstanding safety culture … that's a huge credit," Cr O'Pray said.

"It was delivered ahead of time, under budget, despite issues with PFAs and weather events."

Under a repayment plan, operating partner Palisade is expected to repay the council $372 million by 2022 for the $334 million project.


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