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Building an Airport – Dry Gut Fill and Airport Buildings

Building an airport in any location is a complicated business. Building an airport on St Helena, one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, is a task of mammoth proportions. We follow the progress of the project with great anticipation.

Credit to the Access Office

Credit to the Access Office

Dry Gut Fill

Recently a very significant milestone in the construction process was reached when Dry Gut was filled. If you’re not a Saint (St Helenian!), living on the island or involved in the airport project, this may sound like gibberish. In short, this means that a great, gaping valley was filled so that the 2.4km runway can be constructed on a flat stretch of land.

The Dry Gut. Credit to SHG.

The Dry Gut. Credit to SHG.

The impressive filling of Dry Gut at the airport site at Prosperous Bay Plain, a critical element in the entire airport construction programme, was completed at the end of August after 22 months of hard work and perseverance by the Basil Read Earthworks Team.

The last production load was placed on Saturday, 30 August 2014 at 3pm. The total volume of the Dry Gut fill is 7,612,255m³, giving a total height between the lowest and highest point of 119.8m. A total of 450,000 truckloads of material were used for the fill.

The last truck load of material into the Dry Gut. Credit to the Access Office.

The last truck load of material into the Dry Gut. Credit to the Access Office.

Head of Earthworks, Deon Robbertse commented: “The Dry Gut fill is an example of what teamwork can do. I take my ‘hard’ hat off and salute everyone who helped with this part of the project. Through some good days and some bad, misty, rainy, downright awful days and nights, the team kept on producing and kept reaching their targets. They literally filled Dry Gut one load at a time. It was a privilege to work with the team and thank you to everyone who did their bit.”

Did You Know?

  • The first production load went into Dry Gut on 14 November 2012.
  • 19 trucks were used day and night (with night shifts starting in February 2013, equating to over 12,500 loads per operator.
  • Over 22 months, 503 day shifts and 437 night shifts took place to completely fill Dry Gut.
  • In filling Dry Gut, each ADT has travelled around 60,000km, a total of 1.2 million km (750,000 miles).
  • It takes five buckets per excavator to fill one ADT, which means that the four 70t excavators have turned and scooped up a bucketful of rubble more than 3.125 million times to fill the ADTs and to fill Dry Gut.

Airport Buildings

In the mean time the airport buildings are also progressing at a rapid pace. The structure of the combined building has been completed, and the control tower has now taken its final form with the installation of the cladding and windows. The brickwork is also complete and plastering is in progress. The installation of the services has started and the erection of the roof was scheduled to commence from 6 October.

The Control Tower. Credit to SHG.

The Control Tower. Credit to SHG.

The structure of the terminal building is currently 70% complete. Brickwork to the ground floor of the building is ongoing, and the installation of electrical, mechanical and plumbing works will start shortly.

We congratulate all who have been involved in these achievements and look forward to the completion of the next phase.

For more information about the St Helena Airport Project, visit the Basil Read website.

Credit to the Access Office.

Credit to the Access Office.

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