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Brisbane Airport's New Runways
You're driving towards Brisbane Airport, perhaps heading for the parking facilities. In most locations, this is probably not the most exciting of experiences.
Yet, the newly completed Dryandra Road Underpass is in danger of turning a routine pre-flight activity into an event all of its own.
Why? Well, it's set five metres below sea level, and its position allows vehicles to pass right under the taxiways. It gives a whole new meaning to the expression 'planes passing overhead'!
If that makes you feel slightly anxious, be reassured that it's been constructed using twenty thousand cubic metres of heavily-reinforced concrete. This makes it capable of bearing more than 700 tonnes weight, leaving 140 tonnes leeway compared to even the largest, fully-loaded, A380.
This construction will allow access to the general aviation terminal, as well as both the area for enthusiastic plane spotters and the famed Royal Flying Doctor Service.
But this underpass is only the start!
With this structure in place, construction is now fully focused on the next big Brisbane Airport story - the opening of its second runway in a couple of years.
It is strategically placed a couple of kilometres or so from the current runway, yet runs parallel to it. This means that each can handle departures and arrivals at the same time. The outcome is a doubling of current capacity, possibly up to 1200 flights each day.
Queenslanders will surely be proud to know this will make it the most efficient airport right across Australia! In fact, it is more likely to be compared to famed international hubs such as Hong Kong or Changi in Singapore.
A Brief History of the Second Runway
This ambitious, and surely game-changing, project was kicked into life as long ago as 2012.
However, you have to go much farther back than that to find the first germ of the idea. It was first documented around four decades ago. As it now moves towards completion, thousands of Queenslanders have been involved in this huge construction project.
The finished runway will occupy what was 360ha of greenfield, and will be 3.3KM in length and 60m wide.
So, what of the future?
As we move into the third decade of the century, and beyond, passenger traffic should more than double in the next 10-15 years. In that period, it's also expected that aircraft movements each year will grow from the current figure, approaching a quarter of a million, to well over 350,000. Maintaining this level of growth, Brisbane Airport would reach the half-million figure before the midpoint of the century.
What Else Might you Notice?
As the project nears completion, High Intensity Approach Lighting will be constructed both to the north and south of the centre line of the runway.
So, it's fair to say that Brisbane will be a beacon of light for so many travellers! The site will also be fully landscaped.
On your next visit, as you head for Brisbane Airport Parking, or to pick up or drop off a traveller, take a moment to notice all these changes. It's easy to feel pride that, what started almost a century ago at Eagle Farm, is taking steps onto the stage of the world's leading airports.
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