This year Avalon Airport underwent a massive operation – the runway overlay. The event was three years in the planning and culminated in 48 nights of works, beginning from the southern-end of the runway all the way up to the terminal end.
An overlay is an essential maintenance process for an airport. It doesn’t involve extending the runway; Avalon Airport’s already has capacity for the very largest planes (as will be seen at the end of February 2017 at the Australian International Airshow). The goal is to remove, replace and enhance the existing runway surface.
So, for 48 nights after flights had stopped for the day, at around midnight the trucks rolled out in a procession to the area targeted for that night. The runway is 3048m long and each night anywhere between 45m and 90m were resurfaced at a time.
Vitally once the works began each night, they had to be finished. Which meant careful monitoring of weather patterns, as works couldn’t occur in heavy rain and couldn’t be stopped once they were begun.
Flights begin early each day at Avalon – 6am to be precise! – and the night’s overlay progress needed to be complete in plenty of time so as to avoid disrupting the schedule.
Over a dozen organisations and over 100 personnel were involved in the immense project that used hundreds of pieces of extremely dramatic-looking machinery under lights as bright as day. Over 22,300 tonnes of asphalt were laid and around 10km of new lines marked out.
The investment - a cool $10 million towards making Avalon Airport future-ready. Next time you fly out – enjoy the ride!