Believe it or not, it has now been just over two years since the signing of the airport contract. Shortly after the signing of the contract the first Basil Read contractors arrived on St Helena and preliminary works on the jetty at Rupert’s Valley (to get plant ashore), the Haul Road (to get plant to the airport site) and work on the actual airport site commenced. Our newly released photos of the construction shows just how much work can get completed in 730+ days and the extraordinary efforts by numerous parties behind the scenes.
In our last airport blog post update in July, we mentioned how a staggering 67,730 truckloads of earth filled the gorge and today, we have some fresh news for you. The filling of the Dry Gut, which will carry the airport’s runway, will reach 50% in the next couple of weeks. This is the equivalent of filling 1,600 Olympic swimming pools full of sediment! It is expected that the Dry Gut will be filled with a colossal 8 million m3 by September 2014. In addition work continues on the construction of the terminal buildings.
Throughout the airport’s construction, plans have been put in place for a four year Landscape and Ecology Mitigation Programme (LEMP) which will ensure that the construction of the airport doesn’t negatively affect St Helena’s landscape or surrounding wildlife. LEMP’s work starts in January, and the St Helena National Trust and the Environment Management Division’s Terrestrial Conservation section will be offering a helping hand too.
Marking the 2-year anniversary, St Helena’s Governor Capes said, “I congratulate Basil Read, and all those engaged with the airport project, on the tremendous progress made over the past two years. Of course, much remains to be done to position St Helena to obtain maximum benefit from air access. That must be the focus of our attention over the next two years and I look forward to working with Councillors and the people of St Helena to help secure the foundations for a bright and prosperous future for all who live here.”
In the run up to the airport’s opening in 2016 the island looks forward to further economic benefits and increased career opportunities for Saints. You can find out more about this here.
How does the equipment to build the airport get to St Helena?
The majority of goods and equipment from various parts of the world is sent to Walvis Bay, Namibia, for consolidation before being sent to St Helena aboard Basil Read’s 3,500t vessel the NP Glory IV. Up to 100,000t of goods will be transported to the Island during the project including 22 million litres of diesel, 25,000 tons of cement and 5,500t of explosives!
Watch out for our next airport blog post update!