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Contracts Awarded for $5.3 Billion Western Sydney Airport Project

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The first publicly funded Australian airport project in more than 30 years, Western Sydney Airport, is now officially underway, with the awarding of key contracts for project management and early works announced in recent weeks.

WSA Co, the federal government-owned company building the airport, has appointed US-headquartered global engineering and construction firm Bechtel as the Delivery Partner and Project Manager (Definition) for the $5.3 billion project at Badgerys Creek.

The first publicly funded Australian airport project in more than 30 years, Western Sydney Airport, is now officially underway.

It has also appointed CPB Contractors Lendlease Joint Venture as the contractor to undertake the early earthworks, with site preparation expected to begin before the end of this year.

The airport is one of the largest infrastructure projects underway in New South Wales, with over 11,000 direct and indirect jobs expected to be created during construction and more than 27,000—during operation.

It is expected to be complete and welcoming its first freight and passengers by 2026, with a passenger capacity of 10 million persons per annum.

Local employment targets have been set by WSA Co of 30 percent of total jobs during construction and 50 percent of jobs during operation.

“Construction of the Western Sydney Airport is a once in a generation infrastructure development opportunity for the region and the country, and we are honoured to be working with the Commonwealth of Australia and WSA Co on this iconic project,” said Ailie MacAdam, Bechtel’s managing director for Australia.

“The Bechtel team is looking forward to partnering with the owners, contractors and suppliers on the project, bringing together some of the world’s best aviation and project management minds with local Western Sydney talent.”

Bechtel has completed numerous complex Australian infrastructure projects. These include providing Delivery Partner services for the Tunnels and Stations Excavation package for the Sydney Metro; the City and Southwest project in New South Wales; as well as large-scale mining and liquefied natural gas projects in Queensland and Western Australia.

The company also has a strong track record for major airport projects internationally, including designing and building expansions to Dubai International Airport and managing the construction of Hong Kong International Airport. It is currently delivering expansions to Gatwick Airport in London, performing a similar delivery management role as it will be undertaking for Western Sydney Airport.

“The Bechtel team is looking forward to partnering with the owners, contractors and suppliers on the project, bringing together some of the world’s best aviation and project management minds with local Western Sydney talent.”

A second contract for the project has also been awarded to Bechtel by WSA. The company is going to support WSA Co in the design development work for the airport.

The $80 million early works package awarded to CPB Contractors Lendlease Joint Venture will see up to 180 workers employed on works to prepare the site for major construction. Around 1.8 million cubic metres of soil will have to be moved to level the site. That is not the only work to be done, though. The works package also includes building access roads and drainage before major construction commences next year.

A rail link and major freight hub have also been proposed for the Badgerys Creek area to facilitate the airport’s expected role as an import and export node.

Senator for Western Sydney Marise Payne said the airport would be a game-changer for the local community.

The Federal Government is working with the NSW State Government to invest $3.6 billion in road projects, such as new roads and road upgrades around the airport, she said. The governments also have an objective to see rail connected to the site in time for its 2026 opening.

The masterplan for the airport’s greenfields site has been designed to cater for expansion should demand for air services in the region grow.

Currently, a single 3,700-metre runway is to be constructed, and the government is predicting that a second parallel runway may be necessary by 2050.

WSA Co aims for the centre to be complete by mid-2019.

The community will also be encouraged to engage with the project as construction scales up. WSA Co is calling for expressions of interest regarding the delivery of a visitor centre at the site.

In what may be a first for a major Australian infrastructure project, the visitors centre will enable the public to safely view works as they progress. It will be located on an elevated position near one end of what the future runway and will have direct views to where the terminal will be located.

WSA Co aims for the centre to be complete by mid-2019.

The registration of interest includes final design of the centre and co-located commercial office space, as well as the construction works for both buildings.

WSA Co is also calling for expressions of interest for the tender for bulk earthworks and airside civil works.

This is the single largest works package for the project. The initial scope predicts it will comprise cut to fill earthworks of just over 20 million cubic metres of material on the site, the development of the 3.7km long runway and associated taxiways, as well as construction of the airport’s trunk drainage network, detention and bio-retention basins.

For details of the EOI process for the visitors centre see here. For details of the EOI process for bulk earthworks and airside civil works see here.  

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