Airport 'swamp' to transform Brisbane
Work is set to commence to lay 13 million cubic metres of sand to stabilise the ground for a parallel runway at Brisbane airport, making it "the best runway system in Australia".PT2M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2vb81 620 349 October 10, 2013
Meet the Belgian man who is about to run what will effectively be Queensland's biggest vacuum cleaner.
Yves Bosteels' company, Jan De Nul, will dredge 13 million cubic metres of sand from Moreton Bay, ferry it to Luggage Point and then pipe it to Brisbane Airport, where it will be compacted to lay a solid base for a second runway.
Initial work will begin in a matter of weeks, and the sand brought to shore will eventually raise the ground by three metres.
Jan De Nul area manager Yves Bosteels. Photo: Tony Moore
"We are going to be sending out a large dredge vessel, borrowing sand from near the southern tip of Moreton Island – Middle Banks in the Spitfire Channel – and bringing it to Luggage Point," Mr Bosteel said.
"... [The dredging vessel] Charles Darwin is effectively a big vacuum cleaner.
"There is a big piece of pipe going down and that loosens the soil by jetting water down and then we suck it up."
Building a new Brisbane Airport runway: the sand route. Photo: Tony Moore
The sand will be transferred to the mainland over a 10-hour shift – two hours sailing to Middle Banks, three hours to suck up the sand, two hours sailing back, and then three hours to pump it to the landing at Luggage Point.
From Luggage Point the sand will travel to the the airport's new runway site via a 4.5 kilometre pipeline.
The whole process is expected to take about 40 weeks.
The pipeline will be built between now and April 2014, by which time the Charles Darwin will have been outfitted for the project in Singapore and set sail for Brisbane.
It will take another three years for the sand to be flattened and compacted enough for construction of the runway to begin.
The dredging operation is expected to have a small impact on seagrass in the immediate area, according to an environmental impact study.
"Some localised, short-term impacts to micro flora and possibly seagrass within the immediate vicinity (within 200 m) of the plume may occur," it says.
However the report says the work will avoid important seagrass beds.