“Wilhelm Lauritzen Terminal, you are cleared to use the runway.” So might the radio message sound between 1 June and 19 September at Copenhagen Airport when the entire Wilhelm Lauritzen Terminal is scheduled to be moved 2km across the airport, reports Kurt Thomsen. The building needs to be shifted to give room for new runway extensions.

The terminal, built in 1939, is a three-storey poured concrete structure of 4000m2, and with ground measures of 120m by 25m. The airport’s owner believes that it will be the largest structure ever to be moved in one piece.

A special commission decided in 1993 that the building was worthy of preservation, and in a satisfactory condition to be moved and refurbished for future duty. Since that time, feasibility studies and planning have been conducted, and the project will be executed this summer. Bidding contractors returned their tenders on 15 February and the contract is expected to be tightly contested by, among others, the two big Dutch heavy removal experts, Van Seumeren and Mammoet.

The project is challenging for several reasons. The 2km route is straight across the main runway, tying the contractor to a time slot between 11.30pm and 3am on Saturday nights-Sunday mornings when traffic is at its lowest.

The structure itself is delicate, and the contractor must guarantee that the level of the vehicles is maintained at all times. The contractor must calculate starting/ stopping forces and all other forces imposed on the building during the jack up/down and transport.