Dredging and reclamation works for the construction of a unique 400 ha island had to be carried out including the improvement of the soft soil by means of the installation of vertical synthetic drains, beach replenishment, quay walls and a coastal protection strip.
DEME’s client United Development Company wanted to recreate the atmosphere of the Riviera in the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf with an artificial island resembling a string of pearls - “The Pearl Qatar”. The Pearl is designed as a luxurious residential area for some 30,000 residents.
The assignment for the execution of this extremely complex project embracing several different disciplines was awarded to the Joint Venture Qatar Dredging Company (QDC) (currently MEDCO). Dredging International largely carried out the dredging works, earthworks, project direction and project management, between May 2004 and November 2008.
The project area subsoil is a natural shallow area consisting of different layers, ranging from fine materials up to hard limestone. Due to the hardness of some subsoil areas half of the excavation works were executed by means of blasting and excavation. The Al Mahaar was modified especially for this project, so it could be deployed for rock dredging in very shallow waters.
In addition, some areas consisted of unstable silty subsoil, which results in large amounts of backfilling. In order to respect the strict planning, techniques accelerated settlement was applied in these areas.
These specialised techniques consisted of vertical synthetic drains and a surcharge load of 3 m.
In order not to disturb the local flora and fauna several measures/controls were carried out. Before the start of the project a number of parameters were measured and these were re-measured regularly during the course of the project. In addition, a silt screen was used during dredging activities in order to limit their influence on the surrounding areas.
A 39 km long coastal strip protects the island from erosion. This required an impressive volume of about 2 million m³ of rocks and stones.