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On ground infrastructure takes off at Air 7000 Phase 2B

In 2014, The Australian Department of Defence announced their plans to replace the aging AP-3C Orion Maritime Surveillance Aircraft with a fleet of Boeing P-8A Poseidon Aircrafts.

The P-8A will become a fundamental element of Australia’s future maritime patrol and response strategy. The new aircraft uses advanced sensors and mission systems, including an advanced multi-role radar, high definition cameras, and an acoustic system to monitor Australian waters.

The new aircraft required new on ground support infrastructure and therefore the Air 7000 Phase 2B project was initiated by the Department of Defence. The project was to deliver facilities, infrastructure and airfield works to support for the introduction of the Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft to four RAAF Bases and one Naval Base across Australia.

The five bases for upgrades are RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, RAAF Base Darwin in the Northern Territory, RAAF Base Pearce and HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, and RAAF Base Townsville in Queensland. Lendlease was awarded the Managing Contractor role for the Main Operating Base located at RAAF Edinburgh, South Australia and McMahon Services was awarded the non-airside civil works package for RAAF Base Edinburgh.

The McMahon Services scope of works consisted of the construction of the Non-Airside Building Area including upgrades to the Main Apron, Fisher Boulevard and the Northern and Southern Carparks.

Works included:

  • Earthworks totalling 130,000m³ and included haul road construction, bulk excavation, the breakup of existing asphalt surfaces, cut to fill, and stockpiling of both clean and contaminated soils
  • Demolition, clearing and stripping works of all existing services and structures
  • Site build up and construction of all works to the underside of the concrete slabs of all buildings, including set-downs in the formation
  • Pavement works totalling 30,600m²
  • Light duty and heavy duty footpaths all exposed aggregate concrete finish totalling 11200m²
  • Construction of 6km of new roads including temporary access and haul roads
  • Drainage works including open swale, detention basin, concrete structure drainage, drainage infrastructure, and associated works
  • Installation of guard railing, wire rope and road signage
  • All soft and hard landscaping including footpaths.

Asphalts included apron pads, blast pavements, high strength bound pavements. Base and subbase materials included fine crushed rock up to 150mm depth, and select fills up to 750mm. Heavy duty pavements included 5mm of aggregate size primer seals.

Extensive drainage works were undertaken and include 3km of reinforced concrete pipes and 170 pits in the building pads and 1600m of reinforced concrete pipes and 50 pits in the carparks. Existing service identification and relocation was achieved using a combination of ground penetrating radar, hydro-excavation and survey pick-up, then liaising with service line operators for appropriate relocations.

Materials Classification and Management

A major contributor to McMahon Services being awarded the project was our offering to manage all excavated materials and classifying all spoil in terms of the types and quantities of contamination they contained. This offering extended beyond just McMahon Services operations to included Lendlease’s spoil management and the management of all other spoil produced by all other contractors operating on the larger Air 7000 Edinburgh Base project.

McMahon Services constructed a 50,000m2 stockpile area complete with a temporary weighbridge to collect, classify and store all spoil material.

The Department of Defence specified that contaminated spoils could not be removed from site and thus must remain stockpiled. To date 100,000m3 of spoil has been stockpiled and all spoil has been tracked by a sophisticate spoil management system.