Seven of eight sections of the world’s largest observation wheel are now in place in Dubai.
At over 210m tall when complete, the wheel will dwarf the London Eye, allowing visitors to take in 360-degree views of one of the world’s fastest changing cityscapes.
Project managed by UK’s Mace, which built the London Eye in 1999, the attraction is being developed as a part of the £1bn Bluewaters Island project, a mixed-use manmade island which sits off the coast in Dubai Marina, adjacent to the Jumeriah Beach Residence.
In a project update given today, Mace said the complex construction performed for client Meraas sees the wheel sections fabricated off site and transported to the island by barge.
The sections are then lifted into place by the world’s biggest crawler crane, a Liebherr LR13000.
Each section weighs 750 tons – as much as two Airbus 380 aircraft – and is lifted onto five temporary support structures.
The rim sections are then connected to the hub with 115-m-long temporary rigid spokes before the wheel is rotated 45 degrees to receive the next rim section.
On completion, the entire structure will weigh 9,000 tons and will be able to carry up to 1,440 visitors in its 48 custom-built pods (Mace)
On completion, the entire structure will weigh 9,000 tons and will be able to carry up to 1,440 visitors in its 48 custom-built pods.
Mace is active in the Gulf region. Besides Ain-Dubai and the Jumeriah Beach Residence, its current and completed projects include the Dubai 2020 Expo, the Capital Gate Tower in Abu Dhabi and Doha Festival City in Qatar, one of the largest shopping malls in the world.
The wheel, however, is "really ground-breaking stuff", the company said.
"The sheer size of the Dubai Wheel means we are pushing the boundaries of engineering design," said Piers Sidey, Mace’s project director.
"The step change in size of this Wheel generates multiple increases in terms of required strength and stiffness. Fabrication requires extremely tight tolerances to be strictly met in order to minimize the deviations in flatness and circularity across the diameter rim. It’s really ground-breaking stuff."
He added: "There have been many technical challenges to overcome in order to get this Wheel fabricated and built. As we near completion of the wheel itself, we are looking forward to the next phases of removing the temporary works and constructing the dramatic terminal building beneath the wheel."
Top image: Each section weighs 750 tons – as much as two Airbus 380 aircraft – and is lifted onto five temporary support structures (Mace)