Getting around on the Palm

According to the island’s developers, Nakheel, The Palm Jumeirah is well on course to welcome the first of its residents in early 2006.

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By  Colin Foreman Published  June 6, 2004

Getting around on the Palm|~|Palmbody.jpg|~|Construction work on the Palm is now underway|~|Elements of this infrastructure are now coming together, and as Construction Week reported last week, a number of concrete structures have now been completed. The infrastructure works include the construction of local bridges; waste water collection; storm water drainage; irrigation; domestic water supply network; piped gas; telecommunications; sanitary sewage system; electrical supply; chilled water system; road and streets; marinas and port facilities; fire fighting system; solid waste collection; services access to crescent island; infrastructure transportation and landscape and water features. Foundation work for the villas has also begun on Frond E. “We are right on schedule for the completion of the villas on the island,” said Bob Berger, director projects execution, Nakheel. “We currently have around 2000 workers on the island who are carrying out a variety of tasks from installing vital elements of the infrastructure such as the sewage and electrical requirements through to construction of the villas. This number will grow to around 3000 workers within the next couple of months. Three contractors, Al Hamed, China State Eng’g and Al Moosa, are working on construction of the villas. The villas will be built in a variety of architectural styles. All will be two storeys and will have a private pool and private beach. Residents will also benefit from state-of-the-art security systems and at the nearby village centre marina. These works could only begin once the reclamation was finished and the island was complete. “From the very beginning of the project we have worked with the world’s leading authorities to ensure that we are employing the most up-to-date technology and are benefiting from the latest experience and data on the construction of man-made islands. Only when the results of all of the studies had been fully analysed and our team was satisfied that work could begin did we enter the first phase of infrastructure development,” says Wahid Attalla, director of operations, Nakheel. “No effort has been spared to ensure that Nakheel delivers on its promise to create the Eighth Wonder of the World in The Palm. There is no room for error with this unique development,” he adds. “We have unmatched experience in building man-made islands throughout the world having been involved in projects as diverse as the reclamation of Hong Kong airport and industrial areas in Singapore to sea defense works in Holland. The Palm is unique in the scale of its vision and the size of the development itself but, from a technical perspective, the island has been relatively straightforward to construct. We have, though, been consistently impressed by the unerring eye for detail of the Nakheel engineering team and their insistence on the highest level of testing procedures throughout all phases of development,” says Peter de Ridder, managing director, Van Oord. To test the robustness of the island studies were undertaken to check the impact on The Palm, Jumeirah of earthquakes to a level of 2A; well beyond the scale of any geophysical disturbance ever recorded in Dubai. “We are not obliged to carry out such studies under the existing, stringent, building regulations laid down by the Municipality. This demonstrates once again our determination to leave absolutely nothing to chance with The Palm,” says Atalla. With a number of hotels and about 2000 villas access onto the Palm is crucial. Although there is currently a land bridge onto the trunk of the Palm for construction it will be removed as the development approaches completion. Access will be via a new 350 m long 25 m wide bridge. Out of the eight designs that were tendered H2L2 Architects’ bridge was selected to create a grand entrance to the island. “The bridge is clearly a key element in The Palm, as it is where residents and visitors alike make initial contact with the development. The winning design is an harmonious architectural composition, balancing aesthetic appeal with function and structure,” said bin Sulayem. From the mainland, the bridge will begin with ten lanes (five in each direction), but once over the water it will split into two bridges of five lanes each. The design incorporates reinforced concrete, steel space frames and textured finishes. The sail like space frames will be 25 m high and flank the bridge on both sides. Statues of the seven ancient wonders of the world have also been integrated into the design, as has dynamic lighting to bring the bridge to life after dark. Construction of the bridge has already begun and is scheduled for completion towards the end of 2004. H2L2 are working in collaboration with structural design consultants Leonhardt, Andra and Partner of Germany. The main contractor is Belhasa Six. H2L2 Architects has also be involved in the design of many prominent bridges over the years in the USA, including the likes of the East Span of the San Francisco and Oakland Bay Bridge and The Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. A road network will allow car access to each section of the Palm. From the bridge traffic will run through the centre of the trunk before entering a tunnel connected to the left hand side of the central section of the crescent. Once on the crescent traffic will flow along a four-lane highway running along the back of the crescent before it converges down to two lanes and crosses over to the outer sections of the crescent by bridge. The original plan was that the road network would be the primary mode of transport around the Palm. Later on it was felt that given the magnitude of the project a monorail system would also be needed. “Later on we felt that a monorail system would definitely be of great benefit for the island’s residents and visitors,” says Atalla. The monorail will run along the trunk and pass through the tunnel. The plans have yet to be finalised, but it will stop at a number strategic locations, such as the shoreline apartments, the village centre, the beginning of the fronds, before passing through the road tunnel and terminating to the left of the central section of the crescent. ||**||

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