Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project

Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project

Beach Access using Bog Mats at Sunshine Coast Airport

The Proposal

When the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) proposed an expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport they soon realised that the 347 million dollar project would require access to Marcoola Beach. However, as this area is a nesting ground for endangered sea turtles, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was compiled; discussing both the enormous potential economic gain to the region along with the possible environmental impact. An excerpt from the EIS Summary follows:

  • To protect marine fauna, such as sea turtles, strategies to avoid contact and minimise exposure to light and noise will be implemented including :
    • All dredge pipeline construction works on Marcoola Beach will be undertaken outside turtle nesting season (November to March) as far as practicable
    • Engagement with turtle nest monitoring groups to investigate past and likely future sites prior to commencing work
  • A comprehensive assessment of the potential impacts and mitigation measures result in negligible to low impacts on the marine environment.

Additionally, after completion of the project, dunes were to be restored. At JWA, we have been assisting projects such as this for more than a decade and offered our client the ultimate beach access solution.


The Project

The expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport included a new 2,450m x 45m runway, a half-length parallel taxiway, an expanded apron, perimeter road, and flood mitigation works to be delivered and fully operational in 2020. The foundation for the airport will come from the 1.5 million cubic metres of sand that was dredged from the Spitfire Realignment channel in Moreton Bay leading up to October 2018, just before the sea turtle nesting season. For the construction of the 100m pipeline stationed underneath David Low Way, access across the coastal sand was required.


Sinking Sand

A wheel loader was used to transport the parts and equipment on site, requiring a smooth transition from the sand to the concrete road while traversing a high traffic roadway. The route the wheel loader had to travel was sandy and uneven. Risk analysis revealed the possibility that the loader would get stuck and that loads could fall off; posing a grave threat to the public road users. Additionally, any delays in the process would have directly impacted the duration that the roadway would remain closed, affecting local traffic and slowing the entire expansion project.


Getting Even

From our Brisbane JWA depot, we supplied the most robust all-weather composite mats in Australia to the project. Truckloads of Dura-Base Composite Mats went to the work site; which, through interlocking joins, were put together into any configuration. Composed of 105mm UV stabilised High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE); these ultra-tough mats dispersed weight across the whole pad. By creating a protective barrier, Dura-Base kept the dunes protected, and the wheel loader out of the sand and moving efficiently across a flat, non-slip temporary road. The pipeline components were delivered on schedule.


However, the benefits of our Dura-Base Composite Matting Solution stretched far beyond keeping to a schedule. In addition to reducing ground damage from wheel ruts; the use of composite mats reduce, and in some cases eliminate the need to bring in an imported fill. This was an important consideration on this project- contamination to the dunes and beach and waterways needed mitigating. As these mats arrive in pristine clean condition, are assembled and disassembled on site, leave no residues and can be thoroughly cleaned afterwards they are the smart choice when environmental considerations are concerned.


Further reading:

DuraBase Composite Matting
Sunshine Coast Council (SCC)
SCC - Sunshine Coast Airport Project
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Project Background - Sunshine Coast Airport
QLD State Development - Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion

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Case Study Attributes

Project Name
Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project
Marcoola, QLD
mats used
DuraBase Mats
applications used
Beach Access, Sensitive Site Access, Wet Weather Mitigation
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