World’s largest observation wheel takes shape in Dubai

Spindle lifted into place at Bluewaters Island attraction


A major milestone has been reached in building what will be the world’s largest observation wheel, which is under construction in Dubai.

The hub and wheel spindle have been lifted into place at the Ferris wheel attraction on Bluewaters Island off the Jumeirah Beach Residence coastline, developer Meraas said.

They were manufactured and assembled in the UAE and shipped to Bluewaters Island since they could not be transported by land. The spindle has a diameter of 6.25 metres and is made of steel similar to that used for nuclear plants.

“Three special machines imported from Singapore undertook the fine-tuning work to produce circularity to meet incredible fine tolerances,” Meraas said.

The assembled hub and spindle is approximately 40 metres long and 20 metres high and weighs a massive 1,805 tonnes – equivalent to four A380 aircraft.

“Delivered with fully-fitted internal and external platforms, cooling pipework, cable trays and access ladders, the hub will later be connected to the rim via 192 spoke cables, with the structure then resembling a gigantic bicycle wheel,” the Dubai-based Meraas added.

“Two of the world’s largest cranes, each comprising a 180 metre-long boom and boasting a lifting capacity of over 3,000 tonnes each, have soared over the construction site on Bluewaters Island setting the hub and spindle in place on top of the 126 metre-high legs.”

“The maneuver required intricate coordination between engineers and technicians from different countries as it involved simultaneous rotation and lifting.”

“The process of welding the Spindle A-frames to the four legs will take approximately four weeks, and the cranes will continue holding the weight of the unit for the first two weeks of this operation.”

The construction milestone marks “an unprecedented undertaking in the engineering world, both in terms of process and scale”, Meraas added.

The attraction, previously known as ‘Dubai-I’, will now be called ‘Ain Dubai’, Meraas said.

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