Public anxiety was finally allayed on Tuesday April 17, 2017 as the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was reopened for normal operations two days ahead of schedule, beating the six weeks project deadline given by the Federal government to its contractors, Julius Berger Plc.
The Nigerian government, through the Minister of state for Aviation, Hadi Sirika had given Julius Berger six weeks to complete the emergency rehabilitation of the existing runway and main taxiways to restore the integrity of the airport. As a leading Nigerian construction company, the company has revealed how it was able to fulfill the most demanding requirements for this technical projects of immense socio-economic magnitude. The completed runway was handed over to the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN on April 18, 2017, with airport operations resuming shortly thereafter.
To realize the program of works within the highly challenging timeframe, Julius Berger, through its Head, Media Relations said it pooled its resources, mobilizing equipment, highly skilled specialists and technical teams from across its operational hubs in Nigeria to achieve a record breaking pace of work. “The 400-person strong site team worked around the clock at various stages to complete the milling of 175,000m2 of asphalt and subsequent re-laying of 56,200 tons of new asphalt, at a speed of 4,600 tons per day at peak performance, as well as the installation of 82,300m2 of special fiber glass grid for asphalt reinforcement and the renewal of the runway lighting and markings”.
The company noted that while the construction itself was intensive, project challenges began long before the first machines started their engines. Thorough design studies, seamless planning, scheduling and logistical coordination were all essential aspects of the meticulously planned time schedule. Julius Berger’s global resource network ensured fast track procurement and shipping of 160 tons of project related materials via a fully chartered Boeing 747 cargo plane as well as four additional cargo flights, which together , with the sourcing of materials domestically, ensured prompt delivery of required materials to site, making what many thought was impossible, possible.
Some Aviation stakeholders have commended the speed with which the work was delivered while the company explained that the timely rehabilitation of the runway and main Taxiways was realized due to its robust planning capacities, expansive equipment fleet, leading technical knowhow, proactive problem solving and highly skilled staff. “Thanks to the support of suppliers and subcontractors as well as the professional cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and the Special Project Implementation Committee of the Federal Government, which was ably headed by His Excellency, the Vice President Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN” Duku said.
Julius Berger was awarded the contract to repair the existing 3.6 km runway and main taxiways, which were extensively deteriorated with aged asphalt, wide alligator cracking, shear deformation and widespread pothole formation. To repair the runway and taxiways as a monolithic structure and ensure a quality solution that would extend the runway’s lifespan, the airport was shut down for six weeks, with flights diverted to Kaduna Airport.
Throughout the entire construction period, Julius Berger’s acclaimed international quality assurance and control processes were strictly adhered to, guaranteeing consistency in quality of asphalt production and general works. Compliance with Health, safety and environmental procedures resulted in an incident free work place, supporting both the safety of staff and also the efficiency of operations, with zero loss of time due to injury.