Major earthworks have commenced at A$5.3bn ($3.4bn) Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport in Australia.

The start of the earthworks marks the project’s new phase, which will result in the construction of the terminal, runway and overall infrastructure works related to the airport.

The project is being developed in stages with the first phase involving the construction of a single runway airport with a capacity for up to 10 million passengers a year.

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “Undertaking major earthworks will be a mammoth task, with 25 million cubic metres of earth to be moved, laying the platform for the construction of the runway, roads and terminal.

“This phase of airport construction will continue to provide a huge boost to jobs and economic activity for the Western Sydney community.

“We never underestimated the task of building this airport after generations of delay, and we remain committed to Western Sydney and getting it done.”

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Scheduled to start operations in 2026, the Western Sydney International Airport project is being built on a 1,780ha site at Badgerys Creek, about 50km west of Sydney’s central business district.

In 2019, Lendlease Engineering and its joint venture partner CPB Contractors secured an A$644m ($419.1m) contract for major bulk earthworks package at the federally funded Nancy-Bird Walton Airport.

The scope of the work includes the delivery of design and construction of earthworks and drainage for the airport and topographical design for the airport precinct.

An architectural team consisting of London-based Zaha Hadid Architects and Cox Architecture has been selected to provide the design for the terminal building.

Aurecon was selected last year to provide the terminal precinct engineering design services for the Western Sydney International Airport.

The project is expected to create over 28,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2026.

Illustration of the Western Sydney International Airport in Australia. (Credit: Aurecon Group Brand Pty. Ltd.)