Airport upgrade goes on

EYEBROWS are raising as motorists drive past the Gladstone Airport, with two parts of the upgrade project being questioned.

The Observer has received calls from members of the public wondering why turf laid as part of the project was being ripped up.

A reliable source also claimed the Callemondah Drive overpass project was being stalled due to the one person needed to tick off that part of the project unavailable for three months.

When complete, the overpass will divert traffic from Callemondah Industrial Estate to the Dawson Highway roundabout at Police Creek.

However, Gladstone Regional Council, which is undertaking the $70.5 million project, has pointed the finger at Ergon Energy for the delays with Callemondah Drive and said the turf laying and ripping up was a “must”.

“Two things that are outstanding for it (Callemondah) at the moment is all the signage for it,” council's chief executive officer Graeme Kanofski said.

“That's been ordered.

“And also, the main reason that we can't open it is because the lighting is not up on there yet ... the street lighting, and street lighting, as we know with Ergon, Ergon does it in their own time.

“But the job is due to be completed by the end of the month.

“We don't want to open it and then having to close it again to do works.

“Because it's a curve road over the top of a railway line, we don't want to have to close it at night because the street lighting's not up. It's a safety thing.”

With regards to the laying and ripping up of grass at the airport, Mr Kanofski said the grass was laid to stop dirt run-off in the wet and dust flying during the dry.

“We had to stabilise the surface,” he said.

“We had major issues early in the project with dust and we did not want them reappearing.

“We wanted to get the runway finished.

“We are now working outside of the runway area so that it doesn't impact on flights or whatever.”

Mr Kanofski said the works currently being undertaken would allow, if the need arises, the ability to precision approach.

“We are reviewing with the LNG (liquefied natural gas) industries in respect of complications of flights into Gladstone as a consequence of the LNG industries.”

Mr Kanofski said once the current works were completed, the grass would be re-laid to restabilise the surface.

Commissioning of the runway was celebrated on August 17 with the first commercial aircraft to land without restriction on the newly extended runway.

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