Dubai Water Canal Project: Sailing to economic prosperity in Dubai
There have been countless impressive construction projects in Dubai over the past four decades, but few can match the engineering expertise of the Dubai Water Canal.
This innovative artificial canal was initially unveiled in October 2013 and was inaugurated just over three years later. The ambitious Dh2.7 billion project is a joint venture of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Meydan and Meraas.
The three-kilometre-long canal project comprises of one shopping centre, four hotels, 450 restaurants, luxury housing, walkways and cycle paths, running from Business Bay, through Safa Park and Jumeirah, into the Persian Gulf.
The canal is six metres deep and its width ranges from 80 to 120 metres, crossed by eight metre high bridges. The Roads and Transport Authority constructed bridges over the canal for Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Road, with the former consisting of an impressive eight lanes in each direction.
Whilst many of Dubai’s concepts are created from scratch, there was a pre-existing practical need for Dubai Water Canal. The existing Dubai Creek historically divided Dubai into two main sections; Deira and Bur Dubai. This body of water proved to be too deep to be cleaned naturally, creating an environmental need for change. This issue was proposed to be corrected by connecting the Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf via the canal, creating the development of the Dubai Water Canal Project.
Included in the design of the Canal Project are various green networks which allow pedestrians complete autonomy from vehicular traffic. The green networks connect through the parks, residential buildings, shopping and boardwalks and flow onto and through the building and above vehicular routes to create a truly unique destination experience.
In total, the project has created new public places and facilities encompassing a total area of 80,000 square meters with private marinas for boats and a trade centre at the entrance of the canal.
A seminal moment came in November 2016, when water was released into the Dubai Canal, then the waterfall along the highway starting flowing and that was followed by the official opening of the nine kilometre-long waterway, resplendent with a fireworks display along Sheikh Zayed Road.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, said: “The Dubai Water Canal is one of the smart ideas of Sheikh Mohammed to add a unique tourist and commercial showpiece offering a new style of living in Dubai city. Sheikh Mohammed is always keen to roll out creative and cracking visionary ideas that define new concepts for people’s happiness and welfare.”
From concept to completion, the Dubai Water Canal Project has had a far-reaching positive impact as a job creator. Over 4,600 workers were employed to build the canal under the supervision of four main contractors and 60 subcontractors. Due to the massive scope of the Dubai project, it was split into five contracts.
The first comprised construction of a bridge of eight lanes in each direction on the Shaikh Zayed Road above the course of the canal at a cost of Dh580 million.
The second covered the construction of bridges and intersections at Al Wasl and Jumeirah Roads. The Jumeirah Bridge comprises three lanes in each direction while the bridge on Al Wasl Road comprises three lanes in each direction. A bridge leading to the proposed peninsula to the south of Jumeirah Park is to be constructed.
The third contract covered drilling works of the canal linking the Business Bay Canal with the Arabian Gulf. It included the construction of three pedestrian bridges with unique designs rising 8.5 metres above the water level linking the two banks of the canal at locations carefully selected to ease the mobility of residents in order to encourage the use of public transport means. It also covers the construction of five marine stations, and landfilling works of an artificial peninsula along the stretch of Jumeirah Park; which doubles the park beach and areas, and offers the potentials of adding additional recreational facilities.
The fourth covered construction works of the main Walk and the infrastructure of the canal area
The fifth contract covered completion of the remaining sectors of the Dubai Water Canal, treatment of stagnant water, removal of salt deposited in the bed of the Business Bay Canal, removal of sand barriers on the route of the canal, pumping of water, and constructing four marine transit stations.
From an environmental perspective, the canal will improve the quality of water of the entire waterway (Creek, Business Bay and the Water Canal) by 33 per cent, and improving the turnover of water in the entire system to four times a year. The water turnover in the Dubai Water Canal (from Shaikh Zayed Road to the Business Bay) will be three days only. The canal will moderate the temperature like the artificial water canal in Korea.
One of the main visual attractions of the complex is the giant 160 metre water feature of the Sheikh Zayed Dubai, a stunning feature which at night fall turns the bridge into a waterfall, with the glittering appeal of coloured lighting.
For a project of this scale and complexity, the choice of the technical partner was the Magical Water Fountains company, an organization which has made its name in top level water feature projects realized all over the world.
Magical Water Fountains chose HELIOS BRONZE FC underwater LED projectors by DTS for this one-of-a-kind lighting project with 240 units installed.
Philippe Aerts, CEO of Magical Water Fountains, commented: “The Road & Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai appointed Magical Water for this project. The goal was to create a water feature that put the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in a scale never imagined before. We decided to go for the HELIOS BRONZE FC as we had started the final development with DTS engineer, Andrea Gabrielli previous to putting that product on the market.
“Michel Amann of Crystal Group was the key person in the company for test process in real conditions, and being close with DTS R&D department is very important for us as we always want to increase to quality products.” he added.
Aerts added, “The client request was to display a unique waterfall system not existing anywhere else in the world. During the day the cascade is not using LED projectors. At night, the bridge starts an amazing illumination with smooth colours chosen by the Road & Transport Authority.”
The water fall of course attracts visitors and the overall concept of the project incorporates numerous cultural features, aimed at creating a tourist hub.
It is anticipated that the new area will attract more than 30 million visitors per annum, with the marine transit services of the RTA also increasing the number of tourists.
Economically, it is expected that the canal will increase the competitiveness of Dubai in attracting events and conventions, thanks to an excellent infrastructure. It will also enhance the tourist and commercial activities on both banks of the canal as well as surrounding areas. It will appreciate the value of land in the proximity of the canal and the value of properties in the area are likely to double.
Marine transport in Dubai is expected to receive a boost as a result of the canal. The role of marine transport will support tourism, commercial and residential activities within the project area. It will link the area with other marine communities and projects in Dubai. The ridership of marine transit modes in the canal is expected to exceed one million riders per annum up to 2020, and the number is expected to jump to four million riders by 2030. This is equivalent to about 2.9 million journeys by vehicles on roads.