Limitless, an integrated real estate development company and a business unit of Dubai World, has begun construction work on the Dh40.4 billion ( $11 billion) worth Arabian Canal in the last week of December 2007. The project is perhaps the largest and most complex engineering work in the Middle East after the Suez Canal in Egypt. When completed, it will be just a few miles shorter than the 51-mile-long Panama Canal.
The 150 m wide and 6 m deep canal is scheduled to be completed in 3 years and will be able to accommodate vessels of up to 40 m long. The canal would flow inland from Dubai Waterfront after passing through the east of the Dubai World Central International Airport before turning back towards Palm Jumeirah. The 46-mile-long waterway will wrap around an inland development, essentially transforming a swath of desert into desirable waterfront property. This realty development in Dubai includes marinas, residential communities and business facilities.
Calthorpe Associates, an urban design firm in California, is designing the canal in collaboration with the landscape architecture firm SWA Group, and the engineering firms Moffatt & Nichol, Parsons International, and Mott MacDonald. In designing the project, SWA Group researched canal cities like Venice and Amsterdam, in addition to studying waterfronts in London and New York City.
While Limitless announced in late November 2008 that it is holding off on selling land plots due to the global financial crisis, it said construction of the canal is proceeding as planned. Excavation work has started in November 2008. Workers are excavating 100,000 cubic meters per day, with more than 300 pieces of equipment on site, a Limitless spokesman said in December. The first phase of the project involves digging 200 million cubic meters of earth; the entire canal entails the excavation of 1.1 billion cubic meters of soil.
Abu Dhabi-based Tristar Transport and Contracting has undertaken the earthworks for the first phase of the project. Keeping the canal water fresh, operating heavy equipment in restricted areas and moving huge amounts of excavated materials were some of the challenges being faced during the construction process on the Arabian Canal. The solution was a simple system to maintain the quality of the water. Other problems on site include operating heavy equipment in restricted areas as well as dealing with large amounts of excavated material. The project also has to deal with 13 major highway crossings and many minor crossings.
In December 2008 Limitless has extended for the second time the tender closing date for the second excavation package on the Arabian Canal. The closing date was 4th of January. The contract will involve the excavation of about 300 million cubic meters of earth along an 8.5 kilometer section of the canal.
The second phase is about 50 per cent larger than the first phase, which was awarded to Tristar Transport & Contracting. It is the second of about 10 packages that will be awarded for the excavation of the 75km waterway.
Australian, Gold Coast based company GoMarine has been officially contracted to work on the massive Arabian Canal Project. It has been retained to conduct feasibility studies for five marina facilities along the canal and has already submitted plans for two and will soon submit plans on the other three, designed to accommodate approximately 1000 boats.