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La Mercy Update – April 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009 | 00:00

It was 18 months ago that Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and the Dube Tradeport (DTP) began construction of the new airport at La Mercy. Who would have thought that in about another 14 months a brand new international airport will be built.

Terence Delomoney, ACSA GM: Durban International and National Airports is very excited about the reality of the new airport. He said,
“In my time with ACSA, we always knew that this airport was going to be built but the timing was of essence. I must say that this project has had its fair share of history and challenges to bring us where we are now. It has been a collaborated effort between many parties, including DTP, Local and National Government, eThekwini Municipality, SANRAL and many other stakeholders and role players to be at this stage of this exciting project.”

Delomoney continued, “We have come so far in such a short space of time and that is an achievement we all should be proud of. Now we are on the most crucial stages of the project and this where we are going to need all the support, expertise and assistance to deliver this project for our country. With time marching on, we must now ensure that all activities internal and external that affects the project are now critically streamlined to ensure we remain on track for the deadline for the 1st quarter of 2010”.

Sean van der Valk, ACSA Project Manager responsible for this project said, “We have basically been on this project for 18 months and we have completed about 56% of the construction. So far ACSA has spent about 53% of the actual cost of this R7b project. Although we did have some higher than normal rainfall there are recovery steps in place to ensure we are still on track with all elements. There was an illegal labour unrest situation on site recently which was resolved between the contractor and their union.”

The control tower is in the final stages of completion and will soon be ready to be handed over the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) as they need to commence with their power supply integration process with the eThekwini municipality. The terminal building and airside corridor is substantially completed with many of the airport stakeholders and tenants already have signed off layouts of the areas that they would occupy. The detail design of the multi-storey parkade, which will cater for 1500 cars of the 6400 parking bays available, is approximately 98% complete with only road marking layouts and signage to be completed.

The sign off on the internal layout of the cargo terminal offices has been signed off by DTP and detailed drawings of the installation of the wired cages inside the building have been issued for sign off. The runway, taxiways and apron programs has had to be revised due to the additional rain days experienced and a recovery step program has been initialised by the contractor which means that additional resources have being put in to bring the program back on line.

Some of the key planned activities on the project will include; the commencement of the runway layering and the concrete bases on the east side of the runway, commencement of the G1 layering of the taxiways and the fuel line installation between the taxiways, commencement of the 1st sub-base layer on the main access road.

While the project is gaining momentum, so too is the operational readiness and transfer program (ORAT) that is currently being finalised by the ACSA team. The ORAT will be an extreme time based plan of how the old airport will be relocated to the new site.

Delomoney said, “Once that ORAT plan is complete it will be made public as we will require the assistance and co-operation from the various authorities, public, communities and airport stakeholders to make the transition from the old airport to the new airport a smooth seamless operation but at the same time very exciting. So watch this space!”

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