After its inauguration in October 2022 and the approval of the mass of travelers who now use the line, a prestigious award has also arrived in recent weeks. The Award for Public Architecture (Chapter Western Australia) was awarded to the Airport Central Station, one of the three stations of the Perth Airport Line, the metropolitan line built by Webuild with the local partner NRW.
The award, promoted annually by the Australian Institute of Architects, recognizes excellence in design and architecture for a strategic station in what has been defined as one of the most important sustainable mobility projects undertaken in Western Australia in recent years. The Airport Central Station provides a direct connection between the airport, air travel, and the city through a station and a fast, convenient, and safe metropolitan line. This is the essence of a new sustainable urban mobility that Webuild is promoting through its projects worldwide, as demonstrated by the recent inauguration of the San Babila stop on the M4 line in Milan, which allows reaching the city center from Linate Airport in just 12 minutes. Intermodality at its best connects cities with the world in a sustainable and fast way, just as it has happened in Perth, which now enjoys its valuable urban line.
Forrestfield-Airport Link, the airport's metro
It is no coincidence that the city now calls it the Airport Line. The Forrestfield-Airport Link (the project name of the line) connects its eastern suburbs with the Central Business District, one of the city’s most vital centers, passing through the international airport. Overall, the line stretches for 8.5 kilometers with three stations: Redcliffe, Airport Central, and High Wycombe. The project, funded by the federal government and the government of Western Australia with a budget of 1.86 billion Australian dollars, was carried out between April 2016 – when the contract was awarded – and October 9, 2022, the day of the inauguration of the project.
Since then, the metropolitan line has been transporting thousands of passengers per day, significantly reducing the harmful impact on the environment. According to estimates, the line helps remove up to 15,000 vehicles from Perth‘s roads each day, avoiding the release of 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions into the environment.
Solar energy, recycled concrete, and water: a sustainable project
A metro line is sustainable not only because it reduces traffic and urban congestion but also due to its construction techniques, which are increasingly focused on environmental protection. In this regard, the construction of the Airport Line is a case study because Webuild, together with its Australian partner, has adopted a series of technologies, materials, and construction models that prioritize sustainability on the construction site.
The first point is the power supply of the stations. High Wycombe, one of the three stations, has 626 solar panels on the roof, making it the site of the largest solar panel installation ever installed by a government department in Western Australia. In summer days, the solar system can meet the energy needs of all three stations on the line.
Another point of focus was the significant reduction in water consumption, which is a central issue in construction operations due to the scarcity of water resources in many cities. The tunnel-boring machines used in the construction of the metro tunnels worked with a plant equipped with special filters capable of treating and recycling water. In fact, all the water used for the work of the mechanical drills was recycled, saving 2,740 liters of water.
The composition of the concrete was also studied. For the Airport Line, a special concrete mixture was developed, containing 65percent alternative materials to traditional concrete, many of which were already recycled. Instead of the usual 550 kg of cement per cubic meter of concrete, only 195 kg were needed in this case. Thanks to this technological innovation, the construction site saved 21,848 tons of harmful CO2 emissions. Special reinforced concrete with synthetic microfibers was also used for the slabs on which the Airport Line rails are positioned, replacing steel. In the end, 6.96 million kg less steel was used compared to the expected average, resulting in a reduction of 13,224 tons of CO2 emissions.
In this way, the Airport Line presented itself to the citizens of Perth as a sustainable line and a formidable tool for connecting the city to its airport.