The $270 million main contract was awarded in mid-2001 to China Railway & Engineering Corporation (CREC – MEED 15:6:01). It is not clear what role CREC will play following the award of the subcontracts.

The Belgian firm will carry out the dredging and land reclamation works and IMC will build the 15.5-kilometre-long breakwater and crescent-shaped barrier. The two firms have started mobilising at the site.

Theclient is the local Dubai Palm Developers, which late last year announced the award of two contracts worth a total of $270 million to Van Oord of the Netherlands and Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction (Overseas) to carry out the marine works on the first island of the project, Palm Jumeirah. The two companies replaced the original contractor, Malaysia’s Perkapalen Mesra, which withdrew from the project for financial reasons. Work is progressing on schedule for the first island (MEED 16:11:01).

The estimated $3,000 million Palm Islands project centres on the creation of two islands – Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali. Each island will be in the shape of a palm tree with 17 fronds and a trunk. The islands will each extend 5 kilometres offshore and will be 5 kilometres in diameter (MEED 8:6:01).

Each island will be built from about 80 million cubic metres of sand and rock dredged from the sea bed or mined from quarries. Some 2,000 villas, 40 luxury boutique hotels, two marinas and a water theme park will be built on the islands, as well as bridges, tunnels, a shopping complex and related entertainment facilities.

The project is being managed by a group of US consultants headed by Hill International and including Parsons International.