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Runway a milestone in the Govt’s Defence Plan

Ohakea’s upgraded runway a milestone in the Government’s Defence Plan

Minister of Defence Mark Burton today opened the newly upgraded runway at Ohakea Air Force Base. The event marked the first Defence Long-Term Development Plan (LTDP) project to be completed, and represents a major step towards the RNZAF’s future consolidation at Ohakea.

Mark Burton congratulated the project team for their work—the end result of a long period of planning, extensive geo-technical investigation, design, and construction.

“This is the largest civil construction project to be completed at Ohakea since the base’s creation during the Second World War. Through the combined efforts of NZDF planners and works personnel and the amalgamated expertise of BECAs, Fulton Hogan, and Higgins—three of the country’s best civil design, engineering and construction companies—the upgrade has been completed on time and within the allocated budget. “Within a few years, Ohakea will be the primary operational base for the Air Force, supporting maritime surveillance, air transport and helicopter operations. These upgrades are essential to support the increase in air traffic that will result from our decision to consolidate the Air Force at Ohakea. Ohakea now has a runway designed and built to international standards, ensuring that its load-bearing strength will accommodate both heavy military transport and civilian aircraft—vital to Ohakea’s other role as an alternative airfield for long-haul commercial airlines.”

Work on the runway began on 14 November 2002, and was completed 13 June 2003. Construction staff worked six days a week and numbered between 50 and 100. Throughout the course of the project they moved over 10,000 truckloads of material from under the old runway, backfilled the area with over 40,000 cubic metres of fill, crushed approximately 52,000 cubic metres of old concrete blocks, laid 40,000 tonnes of paving on the surface, installed considerable cabling and ducting for lights and navigation aids, and laid over 10 kilometres of drains.

“Ohakea’s runway upgrade was identified in the Defence Long-Term Development Plan (LTDP) in June 2002 as an essential step towards modernising the capability of our Defence Forces as a whole. Now, twelve months on, I congratulate the NZDF, BECAs, Fulton Hogan, and Higgins for their excellent work in completing the first of many LTDP projects,” said Mark Burton.

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