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Mon 15 Dec 2014 11:20 AM

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12,000 workers employed on $1bn Dubai Airport expansion

Main contractor ALEC says it is on track to complete the project in Q1 2015

12,000 workers employed on $1bn Dubai Airport expansion
(AFP/Getty Images)

Construction firm ALEC says it has around 12,000 workers closing out the AED4 billion ($1.08 million) expansion of Dubai International Airport.

Since June 2011 the Dubai-based contractor has been constructing a new Concourse D, refurbishing Terminal 1 and building a link between the two sites.

Project director Sean McQue said the scheme was due to be handed over to Dubai Airports Aviation Corporation in April 2015 following a four-and-a-half month testing phase of the train.

He said: "On the critical path at the moment is the train – the APM link between terminal 1 and Concourse D. The track is complete. All the rolling stock is delivered already on the track. At the moment we are just completing all the signalling equipment and we start testing the system from December. There’s a four-and-a-half month testing regime but after three-and-a-half months we can start operating the train."

The concourse areas comprise an extra 340,000 square metres of floor space - twice the footprint of London Heathrow Terminal 5. The built up area of the facility is 150,000 square metres and it has 17 contact gates.

McQue said: "There are about 12,000 people deployed on the project at the moment. We’re at the peak now. We’re flat out at the moment. All work fronts are humming at the moment including subcontractors."

He added that the main challenge of the project has been interfacing with an operational airport.

"Major delays have been the access that we’ve needed to build the facility and that’s been primarily based around the airport operations. So they’ve needed to keep a number of stands operational at any one time and we’ve had to fit in with that," he explained. "Another thing is that we’ve had to keep a lot of the goods service roads live because we’ve been operating in and around one of the main arteries of the airport.

"At the end of the day, the project is important but more important is we’ve had to keep as low impact as possible on the current airport operations. That’s the biggest challenge."

Project manager/architect/engineer is Dar Al Handasah and quantity surveyor is Turner & Townsend.

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