Royal mission in Saudi Arabia

King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, serves over 15 million passengers a year. The city has the largest port on the Red Sea and is 80 kilometers from Mecca, Islam’s pilgrimage destination. Named after Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, the former king and founding father of Saudi Arabia, the airport was opened in April 1982. One of the kingdom’s three international commercial airports, it covers an area of 105 square kilometers with its three runways.

Wirtgen SP 500 helps fulfil requirements for takeoff and landing of the Airbus A380

Increasing air traffic volumes and the higher air cargo tonnage prompted the decision to expand KAIA Royal Terminal III. In the first phase of construction, the apron for parked aircraft was expanded by 31,000 m². In addition, crews have started expanding the airfield of the Royal Terminal, which controls flights for the royal family and guests of state. It is also where the Airbus A380 is to land and take off in the future on an area of 34,000 m². King Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz awarded the contract for both construction projects to Binladin Group Rush Projects, which in turn decided to use the SP 500. And it turned out to be a good choice, as Project Manager M. Ali Mubayedh explains after completion of the first phase of construction: “The machine delivered outstanding paving results and, thanks to consistently high compaction, it extended the service life of the airfield. The slipform paver is totally reliable and the quality of the final product excellent. What’s more, we were able to significantly increase daily performance,” said M. Ali Mubayedh, enumerating the advantages of the SP 500.

Thanks to its very high compressive strength, the strip can withstand “heavyweights” in the future like the Airbus A380, without forming ruts or similar surface irregularities.

Thanks to its very high compressive strength, the strip can withstand “heavyweights” in the future like the Airbus A380, without forming ruts or similar surface irregularities.

Paver reliability and experienced personnel save time and money

The employees of the subcontractor, Kabbani Construction Group, (comprising one paving set with about 18 workers and employees who were responsible for cutting joints and supplying dowel bars), paved the concrete with absolute perfection. This outstanding result was made possible not least by the extensive experience the subcontractor has acquired on comparable projects at other airports, including Cairo International Airport in Egypt, using machines from Wirtgen.

Outstanding team: The Kabbani Construction Group team specializes in large-scale concrete paving projects, preferably with machines from the Wirtgen Group.

Outstanding team: The Kabbani Construction Group team specializes in large-scale concrete paving projects, preferably with machines from the Wirtgen Group.

In paving the concrete slab 5 meters wide and 40 centimeters deep, the Wirtgen SP 500 once again proved its great endurance and reliability. “During the three-month construction phase for the first section, we did not encounter a single technical problem – despite the most extreme conditions, at temperatures which sometimes exceeded 50 degrees Celsius. The machine ran smoothly six days a week. Without working one hour overtime, we completed the job ahead of schedule, thereby cutting costs as well,” added the Project Manager.

Once deposited, the concrete is spread evenly for paving over the prescribed area by a spreader auger.

Once deposited, the concrete is spread evenly for paving over the prescribed area by a spreader auger.

Sophisticated technologies: Dowel bar inserter and lateral tie bar inserter

M. Ali Mubayedh was delighted with the Wirtgen technologies, including the functional principle of the dowel bar and lateral tie bar inserters. Designed for precision and adaptability, the dowel bar inserter precisely places the 500 millimeter-long, plastic-coated iron dowels longitudinally into the concrete with the help of electric high-frequency vibrators and using a hydraulically controlled vertical motion. The process is engineered to ensure that during the vibrational insertion of the dowels, they are oriented correctly in their final position over the entire working width. The finishing beam and super smoother also in use provided a perfectly level concrete surface. As a result, the machine operator did not need a second paving mould to smooth the concrete. To guarantee that the end result was of optimal quality, a surveying team had checked the surface continuously during paving and one last time after completion. “The paving set and surveying team always work hand-in-hand at our job sites. Quality is our first priority and our team demonstrates this awareness in every way,” said Mohammed Nour Almaarawi, Head of Maintenance at Al-Saubai Machineries, the regional Wirtgen distributor.

Second construction phase to be completed by October 2012

After successfully expanding the first section, work already is underway on the new parking area for the Airbus A380. Strict requirements are imposed on the concrete surface in this case, too, particularly because of the strong forces exerted by the high weight of the A380. "Here again, good logistics are the prerequisite for successful concrete paving,” explains Mohieddine Sadek, general manager of Al-Saubai Machineries.

With years of experience as a Wirtgen distributor in Saudi Arabia and after innumerable major projects, he is very familiar with the regional conditions like those prevailing at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. He is confident the second phase of construction will be completed on time by October 2012: “Our SP 500 slipform paver has been paving concrete metre by metre again since mid-May, so we are right on schedule.”

Project data:  
Customer: King Abdullah ibn Abd al-Aziz
Location: King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Project name: Upgrade Face Extension of KAIA Royal Terminal III
Contractor: Binladin Group Rush Projects
Subcontractor: Kabbani Construction Group
Concrete lab: Soil & Foundation Co Ltd.
Investment volume total:
155 million Saudi riyal (EUR 33 million)
Investment volume airfield:
66 million Saudi riyal (EUR 14 million)
Workforce: About 18 construction workers plus project management team
1st phase: 20 Feb – 5 May 2012, 6 days/week, 31,000 m²
2nd phase: 16 May – 10/2012, 6 days/week, 34,000 m²
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