Taxiway first

Photo by Mark Price.
Photo by Mark Price.
New taxiways are being constructed at Wanaka Airport from a material not previously used at a New Zealand airport.

Instead of concrete or bitumen, the taxiways are being made from a mixture of local clay, crushed rock and lime bound together by a vegetable enzyme originating from Malaysia.

The process requires the material to be crushed and mixed by a heavy-duty rotary hoe before it is rolled and then shaped, using a grader.

A spokesman for the company doing the work, SBL Firmament, of Christchurch, said most of the work the company did was creating cow lanes on dairy farms, and the lanes had a life expectancy of about 15 years.

Airport manager Ralph Fegan said the new taxiways replaced grass that became muddy and potholed in winter. The new taxiway areas cost about $50,000.