Second life for concrete takes off

The expansion of Auckland Airport is paving the way for diverting old runway pavement to its airfield expansion, saving it from landfill.

While the new domestic and international terminal is being constructed, 108,000 tonnes of concrete from its runway will be crushed up and reused as backfill for 250,000 m² of new aircraft parking airfield.

André Lovatt, Chief infrastructure Officer at Auckland Airport, said it made sense to reuse wasted concrete already on-site to create the strong, stable base needed to take the weight of fully laden aircraft.

“The airfield expansion requires a base of approximately 1.5 metres deep, capable of taking the weight of A380s, which are around 280 tonnes. Repurposing materials allows us to be efficient in how we work and responsible with our construction waste,” Lovatt explained.

“We’ve been underway with pavement renewals across our runway and taxiways for several years now. Over the past few years, we’ve replaced hundreds of concrete slabs, which are 36 square metres each.

“Rather than disposing of this old pavement off-site, we’ve been setting it aside, creating a huge mound of 45,000 cubic metres of concrete to the south of the airfield. The old pavement is now being trucked to crushing machines on-site for use in the airfield expansion, to be completed between now and mid-2025.”

The target for repurposing construction material on-site is 70%. By recycling the runway, 6000 trucks will be kept off the road. Meanwhile, 350,000 tonnes of aggregate will be used in new pavement construction.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is our weekly news journalist and the editor of Concrete in Australia magazine for 10 years. She has been heavily involved in all forms of engineering since 2013; part of a 30-year writing career across a range of subjects and media.