The new facility is required due to the age and condition of the existing building and equipment and because the current height and position of the existing control tower will not allow controllers an adequate view of the airfield as the Airport continues to grow. The new tower is located on the same side of the runway as the existing tower.
The new building comprises 3 distinct operational elements, a high level Visual Control Room (VCR), an Approach Control Room (ACR) and a Main Equipment Room (MER) that houses the main avionics equipment.
Construction started in May 2011 and is programmed for completion in March 2012, it will become operational in early 2013 following installation of the avionics and specialist Air Traffic Control equipment.
The tower itself is supported on 52 number 17m long concrete piles that were drilled and cast in June, this allowed the 33m high concrete tower to "appear" on the skyline in just 13 days using a Slipform construction technique where concrete was poured into a continuously moving steel shutter, or form, which was lifted by hydraulic jacks in a slow, continuous movement allowing the concrete to harden sufficiently by the time it emerged from the bottom of the form.
After the New Control Tower's almost 'overnight' appearance on the skyline in August, the main focus has moved to the construction of the Base Building, which houses the engineering and administration services that support the Air Traffic Control operation.
Whilst the Base Building has progressed well, the installation of the first 23 of 27 flights of stairs and landings within the Tower has been slower and more challenging than expected.
Work is now underway to complete the concrete slabs at the top of the Tower that will form the floors to both the Sub Cab and the VCR. Once these are complete the remaining 4 flights of concrete stairs can be installed. The steel frame and roof for the VCR will be assembled at ground level and lifted into place taking the Tower up to its final height of 37.125m.