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Hawke's Bay Airport

The resurfacing of the Hawkes Bay runway 16-34 and main taxiway involved tight construction programming and tolerances.

Project overview

Being the only runway at Hawke’s Bay Airport capable of landing Air New Zealand commuter aircraft, the site was only available for the resurfacing works when scheduled flights were not in service. This gave the Higgins team a narrow window of operations each night while the runway was closed to aircraft. The length of runway milled and paved was determined by the hours available each night. Typically, the last flight was scheduled around 9.30pm but sometimes as late as 11.00pm. The completed full width section had to be fully compacted, cooled and cleaned of any loose material prior to handover to airport security at 6.00am each morning for outbound flights. The project was completed over 26 nights/5.5 weeks.

Higgins Contractors drew on resources and specialist expertise from a range of Higgins operations to successfully complete this project.  The hallmark of the team’s effectiveness was the focus on absolute customer satisfaction, strong planning and effective team communication.

The key success factors were determined early on with the client and we put together a number of project objectives and they’ve (Higgins) taken on board especially the health and safety objectives.  There have been no accidents or incidents on site.  They’ve put together a program to complete the works on time. Financial controls have been good and entered into the spirit of the contract. We’re pretty pleased with this contract.

Tristan Hughes, Beca Technical Director – Airports.

Any number of factors could have prevented the works being completed each morning such as mechanical breakdown or inclement weather. The consequences of not having the runway fully operational were significant so contingency plans were put in place to reduce the eventuality including an additional mobile asphalt plant, to backup plant in case of breakdown.

The limiting factor to our production rate was compaction of the asphalt. The team knew that both asphalt plants running consecutively would produce more asphalt than could be compacted to the requirements each shift. To ensure our operation was efficient and still producing the required standard, the team increased the compactive effort to a level never done before by utilising five rollers simultaneously.

To minimise dust, noise and general disruption to the family home on a gravel road close to the airport where the trucks were passing, Higgins elected to chipseal a section of this road at our own cost.

Higgins dedicated a full time Quality Manager to this project to ensure all materials and construction conformed to the specifications.  Any changes in these individual gradings were captured and the QA manager made necessary adjustments to the asphalt production to allow for these changes. This ensured 100% compliance in all asphalt production tests.