Leighton takes billion dollar Atlantis project

Australian contractor wins the bid to build the largest water park in the Middle East.

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By  Sean Cronin and Colin Foreman Published  June 18, 2005

Leighton has taken the contract to build the largest water park in the Middle East — the first contract to be awarded under the US $1.1 billion Atlantis project in Dubai. Construction Week has learned that the Australian firm and joint venture partner Emtech has signed a pre- construction agreement to build the US $500 million water park, which is going to be developed on the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. It is believed to be the first major contract that has been won by the Australian firm in the UAE. Kerzner International president, Jim Boocher, confirmed that a pre-construction agreement had been made, but said that a final contract award had yet to be signed. The designs for the water park’s main structures are well advanced, but the route of the main river ride running through the park is not, which means that the buildings may be shifted to make way for the ride. “Redesigns are still being done, there are 70% construction drawings at this point,” says Boocher. Some work on the site has already been undertaken, including the reclamation of a 20 m beach extension and vibro-compaction works. A piling contract for the project’s two hotel buildings and main water park features has been let to M Tech, and work on site is expected to start in August or September. The park is expected to feature unique water attractions, including one of the world’s largest marine habitats, a snorkel trail, a swim with the dolphins encounter programme, an array of water slides, and The Dig — an Atlantis themed ‘archaeological’ experience. The water-theme park will have the capacity to accommodate over 6000 daily visitors. It is understood that the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah has been specially widened to accommodate the project, and up to 25 acres will be reserved for the future development of the scheme.

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