Dublin Airport’s authority, DAA, has awarded the main construction contract for its new North Runway to a joint venture comprising Irish firm Roadbridge and Spanish infrastructure company FCC ConstrucciÃ³n (FCC).
The firms will design and build the new 3.1km North Runway, taxiways, 6km of new internal airport roads, drainage and pollution controls, 7.5km of electrical cable, and more than 2,000 new runway and taxiway lights.
DAA said the existing runway system is "effectively full at peak times" and North Runway is also needed to cut delays.
Local media report the project cost to be €320m, which includes €10m earmarked for new amenities for the community, where there has been opposition to the plan.
Mobilisation and preparatory site works will begin immediately, and groundworks will start in January. Construction is due to finish in early 2021.
DAA said North Runway will be built at no cost to the taxpayer, since DAA is not funded by the state, and will support 31,200 new jobs and €2.2bn in additional economic activity by 2043.
"North Runway is an essential project for Ireland, as it will position the country for future economic growth for many decades to come," said DAA chief executive Dalton Philips.
He added: "North Runway isn’t Dublin’s new runway; it is Ireland’s new runway and it will boost the performance of Irish tourism, trade and foreign direct investment in a post-Brexit world."
Last week Ireland’s transport minister Shane Ross tabled the option of a third, independent terminal at Dublin Airport to introduce competition and increase capacity, but DAA is opposed to this idea, preferring to expand terminals 1 and 2 instead.
FCC ConstrucciÃ³n’s UK & Ireland Director Miguel Ãngel Mayor said: "We have been operating successfully in Ireland for many years and also have significant experience of runway construction both in Europe and South America, having built more than 4.5 million sq m of airport runways."
About 300 construction jobs will be created onsite during the project, said DAA.
To ease local concern DAA will implement a voluntary house purchase scheme, while a sound insulation programme for homes is already in place.
On top of a €10m Community Fund to be disbursed over 25 years, DAA has also bought land in the area for a new public park.
To make the most of its new runway, DAA wants a loosening of flight limits at the busiest times of the day, between 6am and 7am, and also at night.
"Legislation is currently being drafted for an independent noise regulator at Dublin Airport, and DAA will make its case in relation to the conditions via this new process," it said.
Image: From left, Santiago Farré Dot, FCC Europe Director, DAA Chief Executive Dalton Philips, and Roadbridge Managing Director Conor Gilligan at the North Runway contract signing at Dublin Airport (DAA)