Birmingham Airport

Colas has formed a joint venture with VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver the runway extension at Birmingham Airport and realign the A45 dual carriageway adjacent to Birmingham Airport.

The Birmingham Airport runway extension goes far beyond a few hundred metres of concrete. It will change the game for long-haul travel allowing passengers to travel direct to destinations currently out of reach, such as China, South America, South Africa and the West Coast of the USA. Numerous jobs will be created and new trading opportunities can be utilised. In addition unnecessary surface journeys can be avoided.

The works involve:

  • Road realignment of the A45 dual carriageway adjacent to Birmingham Airport.
  • Increasing the length of the runway by 405 metres.

July 2014



April 2014


Steady progress is being made at Birmingham airport with night works making up the majority of activity this month.

Works have included:

-Works to place binder course and regulate in Taxiway Echo

-Surfacing in Taxiway Sierra

-Landscaping to topsoil and finishing works

-Installation of: Airfield ground lights (AGLs) and cabling, new signs, drainage of AGL pits, attenuation tank covers, rising main. Additionally installation of a new pumping station and access into the fuel station has taken place.




April 2014


David Cameron visited Birmingham to celebrate the expected 8,000 jobs to be created in the Midlands - due the expansion works that Colas are currently undertaking at Birmingham Airport.

Prime Minister Visit Web


February 2014


As the works continue, various acitvities including coring, drilling, saw cutting, asphalt reinforcement, asphalt surfacing and concrete paving are underway on the runway.

Aerial 2_Feb 14


January 2014


Concrete paving for the runway extension has now commenced. This phase of work will see the existing runway connected to the new 180 metre section which has already been constructed near the A45.

Night Time Paving _Jan 14


December 2013


This aerial photo of Birmingham Airport's runway extension was taken on 5 December 2013 and shows how far the project has progressed over the past 8 months.

Developments in the past few weeks include:

Concrete paving to taxiway Sierra is complete for the first 75 metres.

The Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) pit and duct system is progressing well. Over 80% of ducting and 70% of pits have now been installed. We can now commence installation of the upgraded AGL cabling.

Concrete paving for the runway extension has now commenced. This phase of work will see the existing runway connected to the new 180 metre section which has already been constructed near the A45.

A 120 x 310 metre area in front of runway 15's Instrument Landing System (ILS) has been prepared in advance of testing and commissioning this Friday. An ILS is a piece of kit that looks like a large length of TV aerial. It emits a signal to tell incoming aircraft where a runway is, either in the dark or in low visibility.

5 Dec 2013


October 2013


The new section of A45 was officially opened by (left to right): Councillor Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Jobs and Skills, Birmingham City Council; Andrea Whitworth, Assistant Director, BIS West Midlands; Councillor Ted Richards, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, Solihull Council; Councillor John McNicholas, Chairman of Centro.

New Section Of A45 Officially Opened    


August 2013


The Eastbound carriageway is seeing numerous developments. It has had the base course laid. Kerbing is ongoing on the eastbound carriageway. In addition, kerbs are normally placed before any  surfacing (e.g. base course) but due to the time for each layer to cool, it was more programme efficient to place kerbs between the base course and the remaining layers.



July 2013


The main footpath has now started to be paved around the rear of the RESA (Runway End Safety Area) bund. This is enabling us to access more of the site faster and safer without having to travel over areas of finished soil.


June 2013


Airfield ground lighting (AGL) masts are now starting to be assembled on bases prepared last week. A number are now erected with cables starting to be pulled and threaded into the lanterns. 

Lighting _masts



June 2013


The central reservation has now received its final layer of concrete asphalt. The application of the material was more complex due to the narrow widths of the central reservation and this was all achieved using mini pavers, up to 800 tonnes of asphalt had to be loaded into the pavers hopper using an excavator. However despite this alternative method the central reservation was completed in just under four days. Now fully complete the central reservation will see the installation of a crash barrier. We are joined on site by Road Restraint Systems who are installers of crash barriers. The installation involves driving the posts through the surface of the central reservation which is completed shortly after the surfacing operation. This will be on-going for approximately three weeks. 

Once the paving is completed signage installation will commence. With a significant stretch of the A45 effectively relocated, the new road will require different directions and a new speed limit of 50 will be enforced.         

Central Reservation Received Concrete Asphalt  


June 2013


Construction of the airside culvert is near completion. The new culvert required four deliveries of metal to allow the first 250m to be constructed. Built to facilitate the drainage of excess water, the culvert will run across the airfield and underneath the new runway where it will eventually connect to an existing watercourse.

Construction Of Airside Culvert    


June 2013


Last week the mobile asphalt plant was operational once again as binder course material was produced. This was to create further asphalt to be laid on the westbound carriageway and the central reservation in time for a crash barrier to be installed. Our surfacing team endured the cold and wet conditions and made good progress along the westbound carriageway.         

Mobile _asphalt _June 13


May 2013


The new security fencing between the Centro Road and Perimeter Road has now been installed. As you can see from the picture the Centro Road on the left has had a binder course applied. Our Perimeter Road on the right has been excavated and is in the earlier stages of construction.

Security Fencing


May 2013


The perimeter road which is the final carriageway to be constructed is being excavated before the road foundations are installed.

The excavated materials from the perimeter road will then be used to form an environmental bund and also for the main runway extension.  By environmental bund we refer to a mound of earth which helps to insulate and minimise noise.

Perimeter Rd Material Reuse 9May 13


May 2013


Last week also saw the installation of the Hydrobrake and this system works along with the installed drainage. These images show the delivery and installation of the downstream defender and hydro brake. The system controls the volume of water entering the downstream defender and exiting into the local stream Low Brook. By having such a system this not only prevents flooding of the brook but also controls the output of water and helps regulate the flow, also allowing for sediment and oils to be filtered out.

Downstream Defender And Hydrobrake


April 2013


On the airside a large amount of material is being moved and drainage to this area is being built with further developments to take place next week. Once complete this culvert will sit beneath the new runway extension. Additionally kerb laying operations are currently ahead of progress and in excess of 400m of kerbs are being laid each day.

Airside Developments


April 2013


With the binder course on the Centro Road (central span) completed, the paving teams are rapidly moving onto the Eastbound carriageway. Again the material is produced onsite and once again the advantages of using an onsite asphalt plant are apparent. 

Now in full operational swing, the plant can increase on its daily output.  Allowing the team to successfully lay the binder course on the Eastbound carriageway (central stretch) in just one day alone.

Eastbound Carriageway


April 2013


A binder course has been laid on the central stretch of the Centro Road, the central stretch being the largest span of the Centro Road.
The Centro Road is a new addition to the A45 and has been constructed for buses. This Centro Road will sit between the new A45 corridor and the Perimeter Road which is a new road to be constructed right around the airfield.

Apr 26_13 Binder Course Centro Rd


March 2013


An asphalt batching plant is assembled near the airport to provide asphalt for the A45 road surface and resurfacing of the main runway later in the year. This is a large steel structure which towers over 20m high.

Ashphalt Batching Plant


March 2013


Work has been finished on the first of three attenuation tanks. The final work was to attach the downstream defender that skims off silt and oils and stops them entering the watercourse. The silt and oils that accumulate will be siphoned out via the inspection chamber.


March 2013


A paving machine is being used to lay concrete along the new section of the A45 diversion. Progress is steady and over 100 linear metres are being laid each day.

Concrete Paving Machine


March 2013


Construction of some of the many chambers needed to house BT telephone line ducts is being done. These chambers can be up to 2m deep, 3m long, and 1.5m wide, this is a time consuming task.

Successful drilling under the A45 has been done to take a number of BT services from Clock Lane. This job was made easier by the fact that the drill is capable of steering and directing itself once underground to within 100mm of its target.  Once the holes were drilled we were able to pull cable and ducting through to where we needed them.

Chamber _construction _5Mar 13


March 2013


A concrete batching plant  has been set up on site to provide the material for the concrete road construction. This will minimise the amount of local vehicle movements in the area. The plant is capable of producing up to 110m3 per hour.

Concrete Batching Plant


March 2013


A runway trial area has now been constructed where we will be testing the materials planned for the runway extension. We need to ensure that the material we are placing performs as we are expecting it to. To do this we placed the material in layers and compacted it with a set number of passes of a roller. We will then complete compaction and moisture tests to ensure that it can take the required loading.

Runway Trial Area


November 2012


The official start of the runway at Birmingham Aiport has commenced. The development works will see the existing runway length increase to 3,003 metres and give aircraft unlimited range from the Midlands.

By extending the existing runway by 405 metres, aircraft will be able to take off from Birmingham with more fuel and fly direct to destinations currently out of reach, such as China, South America, South Africa and the West Coast of the USA.



November 2012


Excavation of the Centro road has started from the centre of site cutting through the Mercia mudstone are removing any soft areas before the first layer of stone is placed. This is made more tricky due to the formation for the road only being cut just hours before the stone arrives so it cannot be damaged by the frosts or potential rain.

Excavation for the culverting of the diverted Low Brook through the centre of site has started. This has involved a 3m deep excavation with strip footing either side. These footings will eventually retain a steel arch before it is backfilled externally and checked to ensure it passes the test needed to withstand the loadings on its top.


November 2012


Before the construction details are finalised the designers need the results from on- site ground condition tests. There are many ways of doing this all of which gather different sorts of information. The photos show a CPT test being carried out on one area of site where a pavement is to be laid that will need to take exceptionally large loads.

This vehicle is a standard road going vehicle but with a set of caterpillar tracks that can drop down from the vehicle and lift the wheel off the ground. This makes it suitable for driving on areas of a site where a wheeled vehicle would not be able to get to. The test carried out involve forcing a probe down into the ground. This probe has a number of electronics in its head which measures the pressure on the tip of the probe, the friction on the side and a few other bits besides. This can only be carried out with this sort of probe on grounds where there is not expected to be any stones or rock as this would bend or damage the head and the data would not be relevant to that sort of granular material.

This probe is extended by screwing a new rod onto the probe and forcing this into the ground from the bottom of the truck. The rods have the cable run through them before starting so the cable does not have to have a joint on each rod. The vans come equipped with a stove and storage for water so there is no need to have an office onsite or to need to move the van for breaks. These probes with the rod setup in the van onsite are capable of reaching 30m if the conditions are right in the ground.
CPT Test


October 2012


The new culvert has been installed, backfilled and compacted in layers to allow the construction of the new A45 road over the top. This will take place over the next week. The drainage installation is progressing well - the installation of the main 750mm carrier drain over the main part of the site. is being completed.
New haul routes have been prepared so that the material can be exposed which is needed for the construction of high grade paving.



October 2012


Drainage has begun to be placed onsite. The largest part of this is made up of a culvert which is being delivered in pre-cast concrete units each weighing some 16t. These will be placed with a crane into position on a concrete base. Extra precision is needed due to restrictions in height due to aircraft, wind conditions and wet weather which all affect whether the culverts can be placed.

Drainage Placed Onsite


October 2012


Specialist tree fellers (Arborists) have been on site to remove foliage and trees that sit either on the edge or in the path of the new road. First trees are inspected for nests and other creatures including bats. Once satisfied that there is minimal risk, a dedicated member of the environmental team watches as the foliage is either cut back or cut down. In the case of trees where there is a risk of finding any creature, the bough is tied up and lowered rather than felled. This gives wildlife a chance to escape.

Tree _clearing


August 2012


The Clock Inn and Bickenhill Store are being demolished to accommodate the new layout of the A45.
The buildings are being hand stripped to minimise noise and dust issues with local residents, this will also mean we will be able to achieve 97% reuse or recycle of materials from these buildings.



August 2012


Carl Fergusson - Colas Volker Fitzpatrick Birmingham Airport JvThe VolkerFitzpatrick Colas JV operational team is established in the site offices and work has started on the road realignment of the A45 dual carriageway adjacent to Birmingham Airport. The first activities are the removal of the topsoil, erection of fencing and trial holes to confirm the ground conditions.