Dubai-based developer Limitless has invited prequalified contractors to submit bids in mid-July for the first phase of its 80-kilometre-long Arabian Canal project.

The tender covers excavation works for the first phase of Limitless’ development area, located inland of Jumeirah Golf Estates next to Emirates road.

The package is the first major contract to be tendered on the $11bn project, which is expected to take three years to complete. It involves moving about 1 billion cubic metres of material at a rate of 1 million cubic metres a day.

Previous contracts awarded to Australia’s Gulf Leighton, in a joint venture with Van Oord of The Netherlands, and South Korea’s Samsung Corporation were for trial sections of the canal, located at the northern end of the inland section of the waterway.

The development has been split into up to nine separate packages. Four will be handled by Limitless, three will be managed by Nakheel in the Dubai Waterfront area and Jumeirah Golf Estates, with the other two sections being excavated by Dubai Industrial City and the Roads & Transport Authority.

Nakheel has started work on canal sections at Dubai Waterfront and the authority is evaluating bids by consultants for the section between Emirates road and the Gulf (MEED 9:5:08).

UK-based Faithful & Gould has been appointed by Limitless to provide cost management services for the canal work and the $50bn real estate development that is planned for the area inland of Jebel Ali International Airport.

It covers an area of about 140 square kilometres and includes residential areas and commercial centres. Some areas of the development will be built on man-made hills using material excavated from the canal. Once complete, it will house 1.5 million people.