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Thais call in Scott Wilson over Bangkok runway cracks

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SCOTT WILSON has been drafted in by Thai airport bosses after more than 100 cracks appeared in the runways and taxiways of Bangkok's new £1.7bn international airport.

Suvarnabhumi Airport opened just four months ago to massive fanfare after 40 years of planning and construction. Scott Wilson was one of more than 20 rms that worked on the project (NCE 21 September 2006).

But last week airport operator Airports of Thailand (AOT) was forced to close the west runway and make emergency repairs, diverting ights to a former US B52 bomber base.

Further temporary repairs are still needed and capacity remains drastically reduced with 11 of the airport's 51 piers unusable because of the cracks.

Transport minister Admiral Thira Hao-Charoen is to ask the Thai cabinet to agree to transfer domestic ights to Bangkok's mothballed Don Muang Airport for up to six months while permanent repairs are carried out.

Settlement is the obvious cause of the cracking as the airport is built on a swamp.

Piling was rejected in favour of a major surcharging operation, which was carried out using thousands of vertical preformed drains. These forced an estimated 1.5m to 1.8m settlement prior to construction of the airport infrastructure (NCE 7 April 2005).

A consortium of consulting engineers including Scott Wilson, known as the Airside Design Group or ADG, prepared the detail design of the airfield pavement areas.

In a statement Scott Wilson said that 'the airport operator wishes to identify the cause of the damage. Among others, Scott Wilson has been providing some assistance to AOT.

'There has been much press speculation as to the causes of the pavement damage, including a suggestion that the damage is due to water ingress or construction defects or design. So far as we are aware the cause of the damage has not been identied.

'Scott Wilson has been asked by the authorities to provide advice on technical aspects of the project and offer full support with any investigations.'

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