The future has begun - first construction phase of Neumayer Station III finished
The last people involved in constructing Neumayer Station III have left the currently most southern construction site of the world on March 10th 2008. It took just about seven weeks to build the whole lower level of the station with its 16 hydraulic jacks and the entrance to the garage.
A solid pack ice barrier in front of the mooring at the Ekstrom Ice Shelf had delayed the delivery of prefabricated parts on board of the Danish cargo ship Naja Arctica for many weeks at the beginning of the season in mid-December. The completion of the garage was therefore declared on site the new objective by the site supervision. It was achieved at the beginning of March thanks to the high motivation of all collaborators working on the construction.
Proof for the Antarctic winter
The complete installation of the lower level section was an important step in the Antarctic building project. Local climatic conditions permit large scale work on the exterior only during the Antarctic summer months from mid-November to the beginning of March. All construction vehicles and machinery can be stored over the winter months in the garage because of the completely covered pit section
Further building material and the building camp itself were stored winterproof on the ice. The containers of the building camp were grouped to form stocks, the steel girders not yet installed were systematically piled and marked with long poles. This way, they can be retrieved more quickly in the next Antarctic spring. Furthermore, the GPS position of each stock was taken to find the correct place for digging in case of a snowdrift.
Future prospects - the comming Season 2008/2009
Due to the delays during the first phase of construction, the coming season 2008/2009 will be considerably longer than the four weeks planned previously. The steel workings on the above ground part of the station, the assembly of the outer walls as well as all installation work will keep the fifty construction workers busy starting in October. In the coming season, work can continue on the Ekstrom Ice Shelf independent of further material transports.
Opening and operation of Neumayer Station III is scheduled for mid-February 2009.