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Palm Islands

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Projects > Man-made Islands
The Palm Jumeira Islands, Dubai
The Palm Islands development consists of three man-made islands in the shape of palm trees. The three islands are known as Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and Palm Deira. Built for commercial and residential development, it is the largest land reclamation project in the world and was conceived to help boost tourism in Dubai.

Palm Islands was commissioned by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum and developed by Nakheel Properties, the same company that developed the World, a group of artificial islands in the shape of the world map.

The three artificial islands are located off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf. More than 100 luxury hotels will be built on the islands, as well as residential suites, villas, marinas, water theme parks, restaurants, shopping malls, and other facilities. It will also add 323 miles (520 km) of beach to the city of Dubai.

Construction of the first island, Palm Jumeirah, began in 2001 and was completed in 2006. The land reclamation stage of Palm Jebel Ali has been completed and its infrastructure is currently under development. Palm Deira is undergoing land reclamation and will be the largest man-made island in the world when it is complete, likely by 2015.


[edit] Construction History

[edit] The Idea and Early Planning

The idea for a palm-shaped island came from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. After drawing a sketch of a palm tree, he realized that the fronds of the tree could provide more space for a stretch of beach than the traditional circular island. He considered the drawing and asked Nakheel Properties to aid in developing it to help boost tourism in Dubai. [1]

After four years of careful and exhaustive planning, hired contractors Van Oord and Jan de Nul laid out the design of the three islands. Each island was to be shaped like a palm tree and crowned with a crescent of land. They intended to fill Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali with 131 million cubic yards (100 million m3)of rock and sand, while Palm Deira would comprise approximately 1.3 billion cubic yards (1 billion m3) of rock and sand.

The contractors devised the construction into three stages per island. The first involved the excavation and placement of rock and sand to form a stretch of land; the second was the construction of infrastructure and services. The third stage involved the developers who would purchase the land; it included the construction of homes and apartments.

[edit] Palm Jumeirah

[edit] Phase I: Excavation

Construction of the current largest man-made island in the world began in 2001. Before construction could begin, expert divers surveyed the seabed vigorously to ensure that excavation would be both safe and feasible to the project and the environment; this procedure would also be carried out for the two subsequent islands.

The island, in the shape of a palm tree and crowned with a crescent of land known as the breakwater, is comprised of several layers of sand and rock. To compose the islands, dredgers pumped sand from the bottom of the Persian Gulf. Contractors Jan de Nul and Van Oord both carried out the dredging operations. Dredging ships, guided by Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), pumped sand through a tube onto an area in a process known as rainbowing, a term derived from the arc of sand created from the machine’s spray.[2] This device could ensure the precise placement of sand within 0.39 of an inch (1 cm). The crescent of Palm Jumeirah extends 13 feet (4 m) above low tide sea level and is 34 feet (10 m) deep at its deepest point.

Similarly, the breakwater was constructed in several layers. The first layer of breakwater was composed of sand pumped from a dredger. The sand contained "an erosion-preventing, water permeable geo-textile" characteristic to help it remain intact. The next layer consisted of one-ton rocks, which were strategically placed by a series of cranes. The next two layers consisted of rocks, as large as six tons each, blasted from mountain rock. Approximately seven million tons of quarry blocks were brought in from all over the United Arab Emirate as well. A floating crane, erected on the inside of the crescent, was responsible for lowering these heavy rocks, one by one, into place.

The breakwater was constructed with two openings, each 3,280 feet (1,000 m) long on each side. This was to prevent stagnation throughout the 16 channels of the island. Water gaps were constructed to allow the water to circulate on a 13-day cycle.

Unfortunately, during the construction process, a tidal wave swept away five workers, drowning one. [3]

[edit] Phase II: Shaping Infrastructure

Once the sand was dredged into place, Vibro compactors saturated the sand with jets of water to loosen it before compacting it. [4]

When complete, the island was shaped like a palm tree, with a trunk, a crown, and 17 fronds. Surrounded by a 6.8-mile- (11-km-)long breakwater, the island comprised 123 million cubic yards (94 million m3) of sand and seven million tons of rock.

Approximately 6.5 million cubic yards (5,000,000 m3) of rock was used in the construction of a slope to protect the island from tidal waves and storms.

Palm Jumeirah was completed between late 2005 and early 2006. At this time, developers initiated the early planning stage for a series of hotels, such as the famous Atlantis Hotel and Palm Resort, to be built on the island. Located in the center of the island will be the Trump International Hotel and Tower. These hotels are expected to be complete by November 2008. In addition, more than 28 beachfront hotels, all located on the crescent of the island, will be developed before the end of 2009. [5]

[edit] Phase III: Developer Construction and Transportation

With the first phase completed, residents were already beginning to move in by 2007. Now, more than 500 families are situated on the island.

In addition to the homes that are under development, several transportation links are also being constructed. The first monorail of its kind in the Middle East is under construction. A 3.4-mile-(5.4-km-) long rail is expected to be ready by the end of 2008. [6]

A canal is also being constructed to allow for water taxis to take visitors to and from the island and the mainland. A bridge spanning 900 feet (274 m) will also facilitate the transportation of visitors. For drivers, a six-lane subsea tunnel is being built. In order to achieve this, a dam was built so water could be removed and the seabed excavated[7]

[edit] Palm Jebel Ali

Palm Jebel Ali project began in 2002 and is expected to be complete by 2008.[8] Although structurally complete, the dredging process is still ongoing. A breakwater was constructed around the 2.5-mile-(4-km-) long peninsula, comprising 177 million cubic yards (135,000,000 m3) of rock, sand, and limestone. The breakwater was complete in December 2006.

When complete, Palm Jebel Ali will include six marinas, a water theme park called Sea Village, and boardwalks with an engraved Arabic poem written by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is anticipated that by 2012, construction of four theme parks will begin, including SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens, and Discovery Cove.

[edit] Palm Deira

Construction on Palm Deira began in 2003 and is anticipated to take the next 10 to 15 years to complete. When complete, it will have a surface area of 55.4 million square yards (46.35 million m2)—larger than the surface area of Paris—making it the largest man-made island in the world.

Original plans called for Palm Deira to be a 8.7-mile (14-km) by 5.3-mile- (8.5-km-) long island with 41 fronds, but the depth of the Persian Gulf would not permit this. The design was changed to accommodate a 7.76-mile (12.5-km) by 4.66-mile (7.5-km) island with 18 large fronds.

Contractors are currently in the land reclamation process and are preparing for the formation of the island and breakwater. About 262 million cubic yards (200 million m3) of sand has already been reclaimed as of October 2007. In April 2008, Nakheel announced that a quarter of the area of Palm Deira had been reclaimed. [9]

When it is complete, around 2015, it will house more than a million people.

[edit] Equipment Used

[edit] Refurbishment/Recent Projects/Renovations

  • Smaller-scale construction of homes has begun on Palm Jurmeirah.
  • Development construction is currently underway for Palm Jebel Ali.
  • The first phase of land reclamation of Palm Deira is near completion.

[edit] Unique Facts

  • Palm Jumeirah is visible from space.
  • At first, construction was wrought with problems preventing a sea flow and causing the water to stagnate between fronds. During construction, rocks and sand covered oyster beds and coral reefs, as well as altered the currents of the mainland shore. Nakheel has since resolved this.
  • The construction of the islands continues to be rife with controversy surrounding the potential damage that is being caused to sea life. [10]
  • Despite the low sea levels, Nakheel believes the breakwater is secure enough to protect the gulf from any bad storms.
  • Not everyone is happy with the Palm Islands. Property owners on the shoreline have complained that the islands have hindered their view of the sea. [11]
  • During construction, the workers lived in anchored cruise ships situated on the fronds.
  • The concept of the date palm tree (on which Palm Jumeirah is based) carries great historical importance. The date palm tree is known as a major food source. [12]

[edit] References

  1. Architecture of Dubai. Village of Joy. 2008-11-04.
  2. Construction. The Palm Dubai. 2008-11-04.
  3. Dubais Palm. 2009-22-04.
  4. Dubais Palm. 2009-22-04.
  5. Dubai’s Palm and World Islands. AME Info. 2008-11-04.
  6. Dubai’s Palm and World Islands. AME Info. 2008-11-04.
  7. Dubais Palm. 2009-22-04.
  8. The Palm Islands. The Emirates Network. 2008-11-04.
  9. The Palm Islands. The Emirates Network. 2008-11-04.
  10. Dubai’s Palm and World Islands. AME Info. 2008-11-04.
  11. Dubais Palm. 2009-22-04.
  12. Construction. The Palm Dubai. 2008-11-04.

[Official Palm Islands Website]