The next stage of major earthworks on the site of the Western Sydney Airport is now underway as the development tackles its next challenge.
Over the next two years around 25 million cubic metres of earth is set to be moved to make way for construction of the airport terminal, runway, roads and rail.
Workers will certainly have their work cut out for them as they strive to flatten the site, which has height differences that equate to that of a 12 storey building.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack gave the official signal for the start of major earthworks this morning.
Western Sydney Airport Executive General Manager for Airport Infrastructure Jim Tragotsalos, Penrith MP Stuart Ayres, Lindsay MP Melissa McIntosh and Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies were also on hand to mark the occasion.
“In total, we’re moving enough earth to fill around 10,000 Olympic swimming pools,” Mr Tragotsalos said.
“We’ll have hundreds of workers and more than 200 scrapers, excavators, graders, dump trucks and dozers, including some of the world’s biggest machines on site getting to work on this mammoth task.”
Since initial earthworks commenced in September 2018 around a million worker hours have been racked up on the project and 1.8 million cubic metres of earth moved around the site.
“We’re looking forward to the terminal and runway taking shape and we’re looking forward to 2026 when we can open this airport in December of that year,” Mr McCormack said.
Mr McCormack confirmed that the rail line will be open for use on schedule when the airport opens.
“It will occur, Stuart Ayres and I have spoken about this on a number of occasions, the Federal and State Liberal Nationals Government has spoken about this and are working towards making that happen,” he said.
Mr Ayres noted the Western Sydney Roads Program and the need for strong connectivity to the airport.
“This includes upgrades to Bringelly Road and The Northern Road which is underway right now and parts of that project have already been completed, over $3.6 billion in road upgrades to ensure that when this airport is open in 2026, it has the infrastructure to connect it to western Sydney so that western Sydney residents can be connected to the world,” he said.
Mr McCormack would not put a timeframe on when flight paths would be released to the public, an issue that remains a major concern across the local community.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Nicola Barton is a news journalist with the Western Weekender, primarily covering crime and politics.