Working for the Government of Gibraltar, we developed a new access road to improve transportation links with Gibraltar Airport. The scheme consists of a 2.3km road running below the existing airport runway via a tunnel, and the consequent relocation of military buildings on the site. To inform the construction, our environmental scientists worked closely with our geotechnical and highways engineers, as well as the project planning consultant, to prepare a land contamination assessment.
The site is constricted, and presented several challenges in overcoming the significant possibility of contamination. Historically, the land has been in use by the military, and this continues to be so. The aviation use poses contamination risks, as do the disused fuel pipelines buried beneath the ground. Of particular concern were the series of wells at the airfield used to abstract groundwater for Gibraltar's drinking supply. These had to be assessed and protected where necessary from the potential impact of the development on water quality.
An initial desk study was undertaken in relation to the ground conditions, and we liaised with libraries in Gibraltar. Based on this information, we designed and implemented the necessary intrusive investigations. Interpretation of the findings followed, as well as an assessment of the risks to groundwater and human health. All work was carried out in accordance with UK best practice.