Airport Runway Upgrade Project under ‘good progress’ with further blasts to continue until December

Downers Construction Manager Craig Smart at Tafalalo Quarry site

The upgrade project for the Hannan International Airport Runway is well underway, says Downers Construction Manager Craig Smart. 

Last week, a series of explosives were blasted at the Tafalalo Quarry site which took place on Wednesday and Friday afternoon. 

Craig Smart told BCN News that the team will be grinding the larger rocks, from the results of the blasts, to smaller rocks and carting it from Tafalalo Quarry to Huihui road. 

“We are now working on the taxiway and the apron and we are probably eighty percent finished there. All that work should be finished some time in September. We’ve got one more crossing of the taxiway to do, which is quite a major work, and then we are tidying up.”

“We are also continuing to set up our site and major activity is going to be carting the aggregate  from the quarry here up to our huihui road stockpile and that work is going to continue for at least the next three months. There will be trucks on the road carrying the aggregate as it is processed from the big rocks into the products that we need to do the runway,” says Mr. Smart. 

Craig Smart says that some of the workers will be finishing their jobs for the project next month. 

Others will be later in December this year before taking a break to return next year after the cyclone season in March 2023 to begin the major work for the runway which include milling, paving and technical resurfacing of the runway.

“During Covid, we got to Niue, we got set up, we found a good team of local workers and they’ve got through their work really well. At the start it was wet and there were issues, so we’ve really pulled together and we’re very happy with where we are now. Bit of extra work in the quarry than we thought but otherwise it all came together very nicely,” says Mr. Smart.

One of the major setbacks has been the air freight to the island being delayed. 

Mr. Smart says that they are doing a lot of forward planning for next year to bring all of their equipment, which includes assessing how the processes at the wharf work in order to bring their large equipment ashore.

“We are very pleased and grateful for the cooperation that all the government of Niue agencies give us. Appreciate that,” says Mr. Smart.

The airport runway upgrade project is due to complete in November 2023 next year.

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