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World's largest observation wheel nears completion

Dubai observation wheel 3to2

The largest observation wheel in the world, being built in Dubai, has taken a step towards completion with the installation of its seventh out of eight sections.

The wheel will be 210m tall when it is completed, which will be 42m taller than its nearest rival the High Roller in Las Vegas and 75m taller than the London Eye.

Mace is project manager for the attraction which is part of the £1bn Bluewaters Island project, a man-made island sitting in Dubai Marina.

The new wheel has been constructed in a series of prefabricated sections which have been transported to the island by barge and lifted into place by the world’s biggest crawler crane, a Liebherr LR13000.

Each section, which weighs 750t, has been lifted onto five temporary support structures. It has then been connected to the hub with 115m long temporary rigid spokes before the wheel is rotated 45º to receive the next rim section.

In total the steel structure will weigh 9000t and be able to carry up to 1,440 visitors in 48 custom-built pods.

Mace project director Piers Sidey said the sheer size of the wheel meant it was “pushing the boundaries of engineering design” and there had been many technical challenges to overcome in the fabrication and construction of the structure.

“The step change in size of this Wheel generates multiple increases in terms of required strength and stiffness. Fabrication requires extremely tight tolerances to be strictly met in order to minimize the deviations in flatness and circularity across the diameter rim. It’s really ground-breaking stuff.

“As we near completion of the wheel itself, we are looking forward to the next phases of removing the temporary works and constructing the dramatic terminal building beneath the wheel.”

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