The crane index has cranked up three places at the Gold Coast’s southern end this year thanks to development projects rolling out at Gold Coast Airport.
Two nine-tonne tower cranes have been installed by leading construction company Lendlease over the past two weekends, as foundation works near completion and preparation for the next phase of construction gets underway.
The new cranes join one already in place in the precinct as part of construction of the new Rydges hotel.
The cranes come as a new virtual reality flythrough provides the first look inside Gold Coast Airport’s southern terminal expansion, revealing an exciting new arrival experience, including aerobridges, duty free retail space and a landscaped forecourt area just steps from the new hotel.
Queensland Airports Limited Chief Executive Officer Chris Mills said the company was firmly in the delivery phase for the terminal and hotel projects.
“We are so excited to see all of our hard work and preparation in the past few years finally start to take shape with the development. These cranes are a tangible sign of the high level of activity going on in the precinct,” he said.
“There is around $500 million in work currently underway and 1500 jobs will be created during construction of the southern terminal expansion alone – in addition to those generated at the hotel.
“These cranes send a signal to visitors, airline partners, residents and investors that Gold Coast Airport is on the move. These projects will transform the gateway to the Gold Coast and northern NSW.”
Lendlease Building Queensland General Manager Brad Protheroe said project works continued to steadily grow with both an increase in workforce numbers and trade packages let to local subcontractors and suppliers.
“We currently have up to 160 workers on-site at any given time and have inducted more than 600 people since start of construction,” he said.
“So far we have awarded work packages to 10 local subcontractors and suppliers – that’s approximately $31.6 million worth of work so far contributing to the Gold Coast economy.
“These numbers are only set to increase as we approach peak construction in mid to late 2020.”
The cranes’ installation follows the completion of preparatory work on the foundations, with 240 pilings now in place as part of foundation work.
Detailed architectural planning and design work is progressing well, with a new flythrough prepared to provide a real-life look and feel into the new terminal, which is on track to open in 2021.
Using virtual reality technology, the flythrough takes the viewer on a passenger journey – from disembarking the aircraft and passing through an aerobridge, to walking past the duty free area and down the stairs to the new baggage collection space, into the arrival hall and outside into the forecourt area.
Mr Mills said innovative plans needed to be devised to ensure airside operations continued to run smoothly during construction, and this was particularly the case with access to the terminal baggage handling room.
“Our engineers and planners have worked closely with Lendlease in the lead up to this point to come up with clever ways to ensure the smooth operation of Australia’s sixth busiest airport,” he said.
“These include the building of a special tunnel to ensure our baggage tugs are able to access the handling room inside the terminal safely, while construction takes place.
“This was our most complex operational challenge and we have come up with a smart solution to ensure bags continue to arrive on time.”
A short walk from the terminal, work on the new 192-bed hotel is also advancing well, with the fifth floor being poured this week, and the building expected to top-out before Christmas.
The hotel project is part of a greater activation of the airport precinct, with Queensland X-Ray recently opening a clinic on site and Edge Early Learning about to open their latest childcare centre at Airport Central.