Significantly smaller than the giant Heathrow Airport, London City Airport is nevertheless an important transport hub, particularly for the financial sector of the City of London. The little airport now needs to expand in order to cater for an estimated two million per annum growth in passengers.
The £480 million project involves technological advances that only a few years ago would have been seen as impossible.
The contractor, BAM Nuttall, is constructing an £85 million concrete deck extension over the King George V Dock. There will be aircraft stands, a taxiway, and an extension to the existing terminal. The sections of this extension are being built incrementally; when one section has been completed, and is ready for the next stage, the first section forms the base for the following one.
Nobody can do this alone, and BAM Nuttall has commissioned Shay Murtagh Preast Concrete to manufacture and deliver the component units that make up a large part of the extension. To date, Shay Murtagh has delivered over five hundred precast beams for the 7.5 hectare deck, and there is much more to come. In addition to the precast beams, cover slabs, ballast units, pile caps and planks will also be required, and in this project there are added complications. The extension is being built out over water, which is never a simple matter, and much of the work has to be carried out at night in order to avoid disruption. It has even been necessary to build a barge to accommodate the night shifts. The lack of storage space means that components have to be delivered to the site as and when they are needed rather than in bulk. Logistics for the project require careful planning, but Shay Murtagh has plenty of experience, working as it has alongside contractors in several major inner city building and renovation projects.
The London City Airport extension is a challenging project, but one that is set fair to become a landmark in the transport hubs of East London.