MAKING WAVES ON DUBAI’S COASTLINES

Dubai 2017 | MARITIME | FOCUS: DUBAI WATER CANAL

The Dubai Water Canal is the most recent megaproject to alter Dubai's natural harbors, creating new waterways to connect the city's bodies of water and make waves in economic development.

Dubai, constantly at odds with its natural geography, pursues immense and unusual projects that modify the coastlines of the city and develop its marinas. The Dubai Water Canal is the latest project to shape and control the nature of Dubai for the pleasure of its sailing enthusiasts and as a new means of transport that can alleviate congestion and spur further economic growth.

This massive project extends the Deira Creek by 2.9km, connecting the Arabian Gulf to Dubai's Business Bay. This environmentally friendly project is composed of three different zones: the Public Realm, the Green Network, and the Water Network. The project cost an estimated AED2.7 billion (USD735 million) and has a width of between 80 and 120m. In total, it measures 3.2km from the Arabian Gulf to the JW Marriott marquis and has a depth of about six meters with the capacity to carry 1.8cbm of water.

The Water Network is composed of three water bodies including the Canal, the Arabian Gulf coastline, and the Crystal Lagoon located in Safa Park. The coast area provides the city with a breathtaking beach front, and the lagoon gives the residents the coastal experience they previously lacked, lending access to water and the beach. Alternatively, the Green Network connects the new Jumeirah Beach Park to the Safa Park giving the residents an overwhelming leisure experience.

Other than the breathtakingly scenic features of the canal, there is also a 5km network that will be filled with outlets, retail shops, and restaurants along the boardwalk. In fact, the whole project has been estimated to offer new areas in the city measuring about 80,000sqm that will offer space for various public facilities, a new trade center, and private marinas.

The canal is expected to bring many economic advantages to the city. It is set to have significant positive effects on tourism, as it will feature various attractions including floating restaurants and cruises. Furthermore, it will also add to the city's economic growth by sparking real estate growth and business, not to mention the transport possibilities of four new marine transport stations.

The first phase of the project's development included the construction of a bridge with eight lanes, costing an estimated AED580 million (USD158 million). The bridge was to be constructed on Sheikh Zayed Road to allow the course of the canal to flow under the road.

The second phase involved the construction of bridges on Jumeirah Beach Road and Al Wasl Road. This phase was also key because it prepared a pathway for yachts and other marine crafts up to 8.5m high to pass under the roads and through the canal. The phase also included an interchange with multiple tiers to connect the movement of traffic between Al Hadiqa, Al Wasl, and Al Athar roads.

The last phase is the largest and the most expensive part of the project, costing about AED802 million (USD218 million) for the digging of the Water Canal and the construction of the excavated channel. This final stage of the project also involved the construction of four marine transit stations, three bridges for pedestrians, and a human-made peninsula through Jumeirah Park. Several running tracks, sitting areas, and green spaces will overlook the water.

A ceremony was held in November 2016 to open the canal for use, and most of the work on the canal was complete at the time. Sheikh Zayed Road bridge was complete and operational, both the Jumeirah Beach and Al Wasl Road bridges were complete as well, and the pedestrian bridges along the canal were almost done.
This titanic project was the result of 4,650 workers laying 150,000 tons of cement and 25,000 tons of reinforcement steel for a total of 20 million hours of labor.

Dubai is the ultimate expert on colossal projects; the water canal is only the most recent of many to come.