There was a time when 5mm of rain would render the Wentworth Aerodrome unserviceable.
But, after the Wentworth Shire Council’s recent $9.12 million upgrade of the airstrip the region now has access to a 24-hour all-weather facility.
What was once a dirt bush landing strip has now been modernised, with a sealed 1400 metre long, 23-metre wide runway, with 60 metre scaled clearways, plus a 120-metre Runway End Safety Area (RESA), sealed full length taxiway, sealed apron and parking areas all with Pilot Operated Lighting (PAL) to be commissioned.
The upgrade of the aerodrome, now open for daytime operation while lighting works continue, is the largest single project undertaken by the Wentworth Shire Council.
It is one that has instilled a great sense of pride in all involved says the Council’s Team Leader Civil Projects and Maintenance Trevor Willcock.
Fuelling this is the fact this project was delivered almost completely in-house by the Wentworth Shire Council.
“Wentworth Shire has taken on this project, yes we’ve had contractors: sealing contractors, supply contractors, line marking contractors and an electrical contractor doing the lighting, but all the earthworks and drainage for this stage has been done by us,” Mr Willcock said.
“It’s a team, and it does give you a sense of achievement, even all the blokes have a sense of achievement in what they are doing out here, they’ve taken ownership because it is their work, it is their aerodrome, there’s been a joint effort between different teams and departments within Council.
“The roads team has done all the earthworks, the civil works team has done all the drainage and airside infrastructure, there’s been a good bit of collaboration from all departments of council to work together for one goal – to get the aerodrome works spot on and they’ve done a brilliant job.”
The airport redevelopment had been earmarked as a priority project for the Shire for several years, with preliminary works undertaken before this project came about.
The redevelopment dream became reality when the NSW Government contributed $8.42 million from the Growing Local Economies Fund to add to the council’s $700,000 funding – with work starting in April last year.
With Council able to undertake much of the project in-house, just $7,486,658 million including committed costs has been spent so far which has allowed the scope of the project to grow.