A challenging 30-month schedule, input from over 700 Halcrow employees and a mammoth 500,000 hours’ work combined to deliver Abu Dhabi’s iconic Yas Island development – the latest major project to emerge, glittering, from the region’s sandy surrounds.
Earlier this century the emirate’s urban planning council launched its strategy for growth, Vision 2030, outlining plans to expand Abu Dhabi’s population from 1 to 3 million. Yas Island forms an integral component of this future aspiration, providing homes for 110,000 people as well as commercial drivers to attract further investment.
Client Aldar Properties has transformed the 2,500ha man-made island from a dusty wasteland into a lush recreational setting, complete with a Formula One track, seven hotels, one functioning and one constructed marina, and the 200,000m² Ferrari World theme park complex. An international-standard ‘links’ golf course – a first for the Middle East – and fully landscaped areas round out the development, creating a verdant oasis within easy access of both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
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Video filmed in May 2009
As lead consultant for the £23 billion project’s first phase Halcrow delivered all primary infrastructure in preparation for the influx of Formula One spectators, as Abu Dhabi hosted the final race in the 2009 Grand Prix calendar on 1 November. Works included roads, potable water, sewerage, power and irrigation systems, as well as provisions for district cooling and vacuum solid waste. Halcrow also undertook the design, preparation of contract documents and supervision of the race track marina. The marina provides moorings for approximately 160 yachts ranging from 14m to 66m in length.
These complex works will serve the island’s future resident population, along with up to 300,000 daily visitors. Essential utilities and infrastructure pave the way for phases two and three, leading up to the development’s scheduled completion in 2018. And there is no escaping the project’s scale and complexity. Yas Island is home to the world’s second-largest underground water tank, capable of holding 91 million litres of drinking water. Drawing on our Pakistan-based design centre, Halcrow engineers were able to complete all design work for this part of the project at half the original cost.