Metro a big engineering challenge: expert

DUBAI - One of the major challenges of getting the Dubai Metro on track was building stations without impacting local utilities like telecom, electricity and water supplies, said an expert at the Dubai Engineering Challenges conference on April 14.

By (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Mon 14 Apr 2008, 6:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:49 PM

The one-day conference held in Dubai Men’s College was opened by Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology.

Dan Savage, Design Manager of the above-the-ground stations of Dubai Metro, said, “There are lots of challenges because of the size of the Dubai Metro project. We are combining so many elements and one of the main challenges is the logistical execution of Dubai Metro.

“The pipes and cables of many utilities like water and electricity supplies and Etisalat services run above the ground and the question was juggling and coordinating these services and aligning them with the ground stations.”

Conceding it to be one of the most “complex and complicated projects”, Savage noted the Dubai Metro represented a substantial challenge as it is currently the world’s largest public transport project with a fast-track programme. It is being built within the constraints of the ever changing urban landscape of Dubai.

He also focused on the above-the-ground station design and how the complex roof forms have been designed and constructed.

The conference also highlighted the engineering challenges in view of the changing marine and coastal landscape of the emirate.

Gary Mocke, manager of the Coastal and Oceans Group with the international consulting firm of Worley Parsons, spoke on the drastic changes to the coastline of Dubai over the past 20 years due to significant infrastructure development along its shores.

Comparing the emirate’s reclamation of a number of massive man-made offshore islands to the landmark international projects, Mocke said the emirate had taken only two to five years. He noted that projects like the Suez Canal had taken 11 years, while the Panama Canal took 22 years to be completed.

He noted that a lot of sand had been displaced for waterfront properties and the challenges included ensuring that the reclamation was stable.

With a total reclaimed land area exceeding 15,000 hectares and the creation of some 1400km of water fronts, much of them sandy beaches, the mega developments would add massively to the natural Dubai coastline of around 72km in length

Hundreds of delegates, including industry experts, engineering professionals, educators and engineering students provided a stimulating forum to debate industry’s best practices, solutions to the impending skills shortage and ways in which innovation can overcome the unique challenges facing the region’s engineering projects.

Centre of Engineering Excellence

Shaikh Nahyan opened the conference and inaugurated the Higher Colleges of Technology Centre of Engineering Excellence yesterday.

He said, “This new engineering centre is one of the college-based centres of excellence that are being set up throughout the Higher Colleges system. These new centres serve as focal points for the sharing of best practices and resources among all colleges. They will take the lead in promoting innovation in teaching and learning across the Higher Colleges system.”

He noted that in these centres, the colleges would pursue and advance important partnerships with federal and local governments, with private industry and international companies.

The Higher Colleges of Technology - Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (HCT-CERT) also signed a memorandum of understanding with UK-based services company Serco Limited.

Last month, Serco bagged a contract to operate and maintain the first two lines of the Dubai Metro.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and well-known Bangladeshi banker and economist Mohammed Yunus was also present at the event.

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