At a glance
Kangaroo Island Airport
3C Access for Code 3C aircraft
1984 Tonkin involved since 1984
$11m construction budget
Kangaroo Island Council
Kangaroo Island Kingscote South Australia

A study completed by Tonkin in 2012 revealed an opportunity for Kangaroo Island to vastly increase its exposure to interstate and overseas visitors if the airport could accept Code 3C aircraft to and from destinations including Sydney and Melbourne.

Subsequently, Tonkin was awarded the contract for the design and technical support of airside upgrades to the main runway, taxiway and apron. With a tight construction budget of $11m, Tonkin embarked upon a thorough value engineering process to reduce costs through the use of several innovative design elements.

What we did

The project brief delivered by Tonkin comprised a range of reviews and upgrades to the runways, taxiways, apron, lighting, navigational aids, re-fuelling facility and stormwater drainage system.

We worked closely with the contractor, airport management and sub-consultants to plan construction works that could be undertaken during the ongoing safe operation of the airfield.

Drainage analysis was undertaken adjacent the southern runway extension. In the absence of floodplain mapping for the nearby river, modelling was developed for a range of potential flow scenarios. The results underpinned the design solution of a multiple-culvert crossing and swales to convey flows both beneath and around the runway.

What we achieved

Tonkin proposed a design solution for the Kangaroo Island airport upgrade works that:

  • Allowed for the continued operation of the airport during construction
  • Put in place a range of thoughtful design initiatives
  • Provided for the constraints of the site and minimised the environmental impacts of construction

A significant factor in the successful delivery of the airport upgrade was meeting a budget of $11m when initial estimates put the cost of the works at $13.5m. Tonkin championed intelligent cost-saving design ideas, including:

  • The reduction of a runway extension by around 300m
  • Design of an optimised apron parking layout that minimised the amount of new pavement required
  • Deployment of a granular pavement and vertical geometry design, which reduced the overall material requirement
  • The use of pre-cast concrete cover slabs over the existing low-class pipe crossings
  • Reuse of runway edge lighting that was less than five years old

The Prime Minister and SA Premier officially opened the airport upgrade in July 2018.

How we made a difference

The project, which has extended Kangaroo Island’s tourism season and boosted private sector investment, supported 20 jobs during construction and helped sustain another six ongoing local jobs.

Our long-standing relationship with the client enabled us to create critical cost savings to meet the project budget. Kangaroo Island is the first Qantas destination in Australia to be carbon neutral as part of South Australia’s first accredited carbon offset project. 

If you have an infrastructure upgrade project that requires holistic planning and design, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.