More than 200 earthmoving machines have rolled onto the Western Sydney Airport site in what's being described as one of the largest earthmoving challenges in Australian history.
Around 25 million cubic metres of earth will be moved to make way for the construction of the Western Sydney International Airport terminal, runway, roads and rail. "In total, we're moving enough earth to fill around 10,000 Olympic swimming pools," says Jim Tragotsalos, Western Sydney Airport GM of airport infrastructure.
Around one million worker hours have been racked up and 1.8 million cubic metres of earth have already been moved since initial earthworks began in September 2018.
The ongoing project expects to move one million cubic metres of earth a month, with hundreds of workers and more than 200 scrapers, excavators, graders, dump trucks and dozers on-site.
The difference between the highest and lowest points on the hilly site is equivalent to a 12-storey building, notes Tragotsalos, "So we definitely have our work cut out for us."
Initial works also involved realigning 1.6 kilometres of Badgerys Creek Road, which will become one of the gateways to the new airport when it opens in 2026.
"On other projects these achievements would be showstoppers, but for Western Sydney International initial earthworks were just the beginning, covering only six percent of the 1780-hectare site," says Tragotsalos.
Image: Western Sydney Airport start ceremony on 11 March 2020 by Sam Mooy.