North Runway will be located 1.69km to the north, and parallel, to the existing main 10/28 runway. It will be capable of handling all aircraft types up to Code F aircraft. To meet this operational brief, the runway will be 3,110m long and 75m wide with a parallel taxiway located to the south connected into the existing taxiway network.
North Runway will be equipped with Category III B instrument landing and airfield ground lighting systems which will facilitate automatic landing in almost all low visibility conditions. Given the location of the runway, much of the construction is being delivered landside (outside the security restricted area) which allows for greater productivity and predictability of programme.
One of the main challenges is, however, to integrate the runway into the existing infrastructure including linking into taxiway networks, electrical and control systems, and IAA (Irish Aviation Authority) and Met Éireann navigational and meteorological systems. Additionally, the operational teams from the airport and air traffic control have to plan the efficient operational use of the two-runway campus.
The project is being delivered through two main packages - the first package is complete and broadly focused on site clearance and road construction, whilst the second package, which is currently underway, covers construction of the runway, taxiways and ancillary works.
Construction Package 1 commenced in December 2016 and was completed 12 months later. This phase of the project involved the diversion of the Naul Road and comprised the construction of a 2.5km single 8m wide carriageway including a new priority junction and spur roads.
Additionally, a second section of the Naul Road required realignment which involved the construction of a 900m single 8m wide carriageway and the installation of a new priority junction.
Two new airfield viewing areas were constructed in addition to the erection of more than 14km of fencing. Package 1 also included site clearance, tree and hedgerow removal and replanting, installation of a new 200mm water main and relocation of a local monument.
Extensive archaeological site investigations of the North Runway site were undertaken with as many as 30 archaeologists on site during the peak of the excavations. Multiple ecological surveys were also undertaken prior to commencing the works. This included surveys for badgers, bats and other species. Ecological habitat to compensate for the loss of the area was also provided. The Contractor carried out extensive; air, noise and water monitoring as well as implementing a dedicated Environmental Management Plan and Traffic Management Plan.
The reuse of excavated earth on site and environmental recycling of site byproducts was also a key feature, with initiatives such as wood from site clearance being donated to local communities and woodchip used for off-site power generation.
The second construction package covers the detailed design, construction, testing, commissioning and completion of the 3,110m runway, taxiways and associated infrastructure.
It includes the isolation, demolition and removal of all redundant services within the site, including the removal of the airport’s original 11/29 runway, ensuring optimisation of material re-use at all times.
The package also includes surface water and land drainage and treatments; all electrical infrastructure, instrument landing systems and navigational aid infrastructure; airport fencing, gates, perimeter road and signage, and ancillary works.
In October 2018, following an international tender process, the main construction contract for North Runway was awarded to a joint venture comprising of Irish construction company Roadbridge and the Spanish infrastructure group FCC Construcción (FCC).