Project Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai Water Canal

Navigation landmark in Dubaï city

In November 2016, Belhasa Six Construct, the Dubai-based entity of BESIX, celebrated the official completion of the Dubai Water Canal. Our teams turned the Dubai creek extension into a fully navigable channel from the Dubai creek at Al Ras to Jumeirah, through the Business Bay development.

A technical feat

Dubai Canal is the culmination of the dream of the father of modern Dubai, HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, to deepen the Dubai Creek in 1959 to facilitate marine navigation. The project required the diversion of existing utilities and key services, which occurred in parallel with the removal of earth bunds within the Business Bay section of the canal, and dredging up of the canal bed to reach the level of -4 to -6 meters, thereby allowing construction of the remaining sections of the quay wall. More than 3.2 million cubic meters of soil were dredged for the canal and 15,000 concrete blocks of 40 tonnes each were used to fortify the banks.

By using innovative directional drilling techniques and diverting the canal route for excavation works, we were able to reduce the impact on day-to-day traffic and local residents to a minimum.

Mind the neighbors

The project’s main challenge was the diversion of the underground services in order for the excavation and construction of the 3-km-long canal to proceed smoothly. Cutting through high profile residential areas, as well as some of the city’s main traffic arteries, our teams went to great lengths to minimize the impact on the day-to-day traffic and the wellbeing of the local res-idents. Rethinking old methods, the new deep sewerage system was built using the NDRC method (non-destructive road crossings – directional drilling – micro-tunneling), pushing concrete GRP pipes over distances of over 100 meters, also limiting the impact on the surrounding traffic and neighborhoods. A remarkable strategy, as this method is usually put into practice to cross a single road, highway or railway.

Environmentally sound

Treatment of existing hypersaline water impounded within the lagoons of Business Bay was also implemented by diluting the existing water and discharging it back into the sea through a 3-km-long pipeline, and re-flooding the canal after the completion of the works. The existing natural park at the creek’s end was left untouched, avoiding the area were flamingos settle. Making sure that this natural habitat remains unaffected by the future passage of marine traffic was a top priority for the team.

Project details

Project name

Dubai Water Canal

Area(s) of expertise


Contract type



Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Six Construct


RTA, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority

Building Period

2014 - 2016


Parsons Overseas Limited / Halcrow International Partnership

Total value

€ 261 million

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