DEFENCE

$24m contract brings new life to Whenuapai

Friday 21 January 2011, 5:52PM
By Wayne Mapp
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AUCKLAND

The Government is to spend $24 million as part of upgrading the Whenuapai airfield at RNZAF Base Auckland, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp announced today.

“National promised retention of Whenuapai as an operational airbase. This project is part of the resulting programme of essential works. It will give the base a new lease of life,” the Minister said.

The main runway and taxiways will be upgraded, stormwater drainage improved and new airfield lighting will be installed.

“This ensures we have a runway that will last at least another 40 years,” Dr Mapp said. “It was built shortly before World War 2 and now constantly requires repair.

“Whenuapai has a key role in accommodating and supporting Air Force capabilities for NZDF operations at home and abroad,” he said

“The work will improve operating conditions for the maritime and transport aircraft which operate from Whenuapai and enhance the safety and reliability of the airfield infrastructure.”

Whenuapai is home to No 5 Squadron’s P-3K Orion aircraft, No 6 Squadron’s Seasprite helicopters and the Boeing 757 and C130 Hercules aircraft of No 40 Squadron.

The contract has been awarded to Fulton Hogan Auckland Ltd. Work will begin this month and extend over two earthworks construction seasons, with completion projected for May 2012.

A layer of compacted fill will be spread on the main runway and finally a layer of asphalt. Existing materials will be incorporated, including the recycling of redundant concrete taxiways and asphalt.

The airfield will stay operational while the work is carried out.