Job Study - Akmons at Wellington Airport

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From midnight to daybreak working on the southern seawall at Wellington International Airport while the airport was closed to aircraft was no mean feat for the Titan crew of crane operators, riggers and truck drivers.


“Titan Cranes equipment and operators have assisted with the ongoing maintenance of the southern seawall at Wellington International Airport for over 30 years,” says Titan’s Northern Regional manager Vaughan Clark.

“Our association with the airport’s various contractors performing this task began in 1976.

“We were back on the site at the end of February this year to put into place 27 large 13 tonne concrete blocks known as Akmons on the seawall.”

Titan Cranes was commissioned to do the work by Beca for Wellington International Airport. Vaughan says, “this was a matter of urgency, as a building was relocated to the stockpile site. We had to complete the job before this could go ahead.”

Vaughan said Wellington’s unpredictable weather threw a storm into the mix on the first night, forcing the job to stop. On another night we had to stop work at short notice and clear the runway for an emergency involving a Life Flight plane that needed to land at the airport.

The job was carried out over 9 nights and totalled 400 man-hours.

Three cranes and several trucks were used in the operation. The Akmons had been stockpiled on a vacant site adjacent to the runway. On the first two nights a 55 tonne crane was used to load the Akmons onto trucks that then transported them to the seawall where they were unloaded by a 25 tonne crane and placed into a wave trap where the 200 tonne crane could reach them at a later date for placement into the seawall.

The remaining Akmons were added to an existing spiral pattern at the end of the runway that can be seen from the air. A week later the 200 tonne crane was able to setup on top of the seawall in various place and lift the Akmons into their final position. A few existing Akmons were also relocated or rotated into better positions in the seawall.

A smaller crane was used to remove around 40 large rocks in a stockpile adjacent to the seawall. These were placed onto the trucks and offloaded by a large excavator into the water. This work was carried out during daylight, over three days.