By Colin Foreman
Since its launch in November 2004, dredging contractors on the Palm Deira have been busy reclaiming the island that will eventually be larger than Manhattan. Last week it reached the significant milestone of connecting up with Dubai’s mainland.
Landmark for Palm Deira as the island meets Dubai’s shoreline|~|The-Palm-Deira-200.jpg|~|Palm Deira gradually rising above sea level (taken in December 2004).|~|After persistent market rumours that the Palm Deira could be shelved, Nakheel came back fighting last week with the announcement that the island has now connected up to mainland Dubai.
The announcement was also a significant one for contractors hoping to work on the project as it means they can now access the project by land at a crossing point close to Al Hamriya Port, rather than relying on barges and ferries.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman, Nakheel, was the first person to make the overland journey to The Palm, Deira.
He said: “The Palm, Deira’s connectivity with Deira is a fundamental element of the project. Although the island will be a city in its own right, it will also act as an extension of the existing Deira, the area on which our great city of Dubai was founded around. It was a fascinating experience to travel from Deira by car to The Palm, Deira and to look back towards our city.”
Despite the presence of land access, many contractors expressed concerns about heavy traffic in the area which will slow down the delivery of men, equipment and materials to the project. “It’s all very well having land access, but if the access point is in a heavily congested area then access concerns will remain,” said one contractor.
Last month Nakheel revealed that 50 million m3 of sand has already been reclaimed by Dutch dredging contractor Van Oord for The Palm, Deira, which is more than 55% of the total volume of material used to create The Palm, Jumeirah. Progress has continued since then and more land has been reclaimed, including the area which now joins the island to the shoreline of Dubai.
Speaking about the status of land reclamation, Marwan Al Qamzi, head of procurement and contracts, Nakheel, said: “The progress of land reclamation is remarkable. This island is growing before our eyes. The reclamation of the land — the first stage in the creation of a magnificent new city for Dubai — is truly a sight to behold, especially now that we have connected the land mass to Deira. With the latest reclamation, we can now transport materials on to the island, thus moving the development on to the next level.”
The Palm, Deira was launched in November 2004, following widespread international interest and investment in The Palm, Jumeirah and The Palm, Jebel Ali.
Following a series of engineering studies, Nakheel, working with architects and engineers from Japan and California have completed The Palm, Deira masterplan.
When complete the island will offer numerous development opportunities, specifically on areas such as The Trunk and The Corniche. Nakheel also hopes that by giving Deira access to waterfront communities, the development will create a significant uplift in rental values and enhance its existing commercial centre.||**||