Melbourne Airport Runway Widening - 2005

Commencing on 5 April 2005, the main north/south runway at Melbourne Airport, Runway 16/34, was widened by 7.5 m on either side for its entire 3.7 km length. In a massive logistical exercise, the works were carried out day and night, seven days a week. They were completed within 29 days and ahead of schedule. The aerodrome remained operational throughout, with aircraft having to use the shorter Runway 09/27.


The photo above shows the widening works in progress on Runway 16/34. The additional width was necessarily primarly for blast protection as the Airbus A380's outboard engines are much further out than on the Boeing 747, the other main large aircraft that uses Melbourne. In addition to the extra pavement, the works also entailed replacement of the runway edge lighting.


The photo below shows the area near the Runway 34 touchdown zone and concrete pads for the T-VASIS can be seen either side of the runway. The works also involved replacing the original T-VASIS installation with the PAPI system.

Whilst the runway was out of service, the opportunity was also taken to do some remedial works on the original runway surface. Over the years, the impact of landing aircraft resulted in cracking of the runway structure in the touchdown zones. To effect repairs, rectangular sections of cracked runway were removed. Thick reinforcing rods were let into the side-walls of the resulting pits and the runway structure was then replaced. Although scale is a bit difficult to tell in this photo, the pits are actually quite deep.

Note also the runway unserviceability markings - the painted white cross and a yellow, illuminated cross positioned so as to be visible up the approach path at night.


unserviceability crossilluminated unserviceability crossT-VASIS pads - click here for more on T-VASIST-VASIS pads - click here for more on T-VASIS

Click here to download a 1.3 MB panorama of the runway works from Melbourne Tower. Note: This file requires a Quicktime player to view it.

(Photos: Top & bottom-Maurice Austin; Middle-Melbourne Airport; Panorama-Phil Vabre)

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