Project Shackleton – Falkland Islands Runway Resurfacing Project

Falkland Islands Runway

CEEQUAL Very Good – Whole Project Award
Version 4, July 2012 | Mount Pleasant Complex, Falkland Islands

Winner – CEEQUAL Outstanding Achievement Awards 2013 – Transport
Highly Commended – CEEQUAL Outstanding Achievement Awards 2013 – Material Use

Client:Defence Infrastructure Organisation
Designer: Mott MacDonald Ltd
Construction: Colas Ltd
Assessor: Helen Denham

Project summary

Project SHACKLETON entailed rehabilitation works of the airfield pavements and Aeronautical Ground Lighting at Mount Pleasant Airfield (MPA), Falkland Islands. MPA forms part of Mount Pleasant Complex (MPC) and is the most recent purpose-built airfield in the RAF. Along with its military role, MPA also acts as the Falkland Islands’ only international airport.

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Challenges faced

The principal constraint of the project was that the airfield would remain active throughout the duration of the works. With the help of CEEQUAL, the works were designed, programmed and executed to meet the Clients’ constraints and those associated with a project situated in a remote location, allowing for the project to be completed with no impact to military or commercial operations.

Another challenge facing this project was material use because of the Falkland Islands remote location. After detailed discussions it was agreed that a pavement re-surfacing treatment (which would optimise existing levels) would be acceptable. This option avoided the import of large volumes of materials and generation of large quantities of waste.

Through the feasibility stage, the Project Team reviewed the suitability of locally sourced aggregate and its compliance with the material specifications. Although the material was initially found to be non-compliant, a review and alteration of the production processes of the local quarry produced a compliant source of coarse aggregate.

Fine aggregates (2mm sands and filler) were bagged and stored in specially dedicated hangars, because due to the strong winds on the island it was envisaged the volume of fine aggregates lost would be significant and lost into the surrounding natural environment, which could have lead to the blocking of local watercourses as well as dust pollution.

Concrete breakout and asphalt waste was donated, resulting in an estimation that less than 1% of the total waste generated by the project was sent to landfill. All soil excavated for the installation of ducting, was either re-applied as backfill or spread across the backfilled trench and profiled into the landscape, thus no excavated material was transported off-site

Although limited in regards to the means of transport, the base is served by the Falkland Islands Re-Supply Ship (FIRS), which sails 10 times annually and docks at Mare Harbour, approximately 8 km away, the project sought to minimise the number of movements where possible. The Contractor where possible, also sought to utilise local materials/equipment in order to reduce the number of items imported.

The works were designed to be undertaken in Phases, which allowed site access to be controlled to localised areas of the airfield whilst maintaining aircraft movements through the use of Minimum Operating Strips.

The contractors were from the UK, so to reduce transport from Stanley 30km away, the workforce were provided with accommodation, meals and the use of Base leisure and recreational facilities (cinema, gym, swimming pool and bowling lanes).

To what extent did the use of CEEQUAL influence your project?

Where appropriate gravel access tracks (between public road and airfield) were paved by the Contractor. This was outside the contracted scope of works but through CEEQUAL’s influence on the project, it was thought necessary to reduce the volume of dust and foreign matter that could be transported onto either the airside pavement or public roads.

Another example of CEEQUAL’s influence was the production of compliant coarse aggregate to be produced from the local quarry, thus avoiding the import of significant volumes of material (45,000 tonnes) and the ship movements(over 20 potential movements) and waste associated.