If you want to see an enormous and impressive construction site ‘in action’ I highly recommend a visit to the Western Sydney International Airport visitor centre in Luddenham.
The Western Sydney International Airport Experience Centre is located on a small hill and provides an opportunity where you can watch hundreds, possibly thousands, of contractors build Sydney’s second international airport at Badgerys Creek.
The Australian Government says the airport is expected to open in 2026 and will be operate 24 hours a day.
Plans for the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport were announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in May 2017 — Construction began on the 24th September 2018.
In June 2017 the federal government revealed some important stats about the new airport:
- 65,000 square metres integrated international and domestic terminal capable of handling 10 million passengers per annum;
- A 3,700 metre x 60 metre runway;
- A full-length parallel taxiway with two sets of rapid exit taxiways at each direction of the runway and 90-degree intersection exits.
Hundreds of heavy machinery vehicles are currently involved in Stage 1 of the development. The dust being kicked-up by the work at Badgerys Creek is noticeable. On some days, south-westerly winds move the dust into heavily populated suburbs in the Parramatta region.
The airport’s 2019 ‘Air Quality Construction Environmental Management Plan’ assessed the issues of dust during the early stages of the development: “Construction of the Stage 1 development will result in dust emissions generated during both the earthworks and the construction of aviation infrastructure. Specific to the works covered by this CEMP, the likely activities that have the potential to impact on air quality include the following:
- Operation of heavy machinery including dozers, scrapers and graders;
- The loading and unloading of materials;
- Hauling on paved and unpaved roads; and
- Exposure of ground surfaces resulting in wind erosion.
In addition to the above, there will also be diesel particulate matter emissions (comprising PM2.5 only) from the onsite equipment. Additionally, construction of the Stage 1 development will result in greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of construction equipment and vegetation clearing.”
The Western Sydney International Airport Experience Centre is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Thursday. I visited on a Friday — I wasn’t allowed into the visitor centre — but that didn’t stop me from being able to admire the construction site. The ‘Experience Centre’ is located at 100 Eaton Road Luddenham.