Ain Dubai: World’s largest 'wheel'

‘Ain Dubai’ will offer 360-degree views of Dubai. (Supplied)

Dubai-based Meraas has achieved a milestone in the construction of the world’s largest observation wheel on Bluewaters Island, off the Jumeirah Beach Residence coastline, with the hub and spindle assembly now in place.

Renamed ‘Ain Dubai’ (previously ‘Dubai-I’), the observation wheel is set to become the largest and highest in the world and on completion will tower high above Dubai's coastline, with its dimensions far exceeding any similar existing structure. It will offer 360-degree views of Dubai.

The hub and spindle of the observation wheel were manufactured and assembled in the UAE and shipped to the location as it could not be transported on land. The spindle with a diameter of 6.25 metres is made of steel, similar to that used for nuclear plants, and is rolled and welded to serve its future purpose. Three special machines imported from Singapore undertook the fine-tuning work to produce circularity.

The assembled hub and spindle is approximately 40 metres long and 20 metres high and weighs 1,805 tonnes which is equivalent to four A380 aircrafts. The hub will later be connected to the rim through 192 spoke cables, with the structure then resembling a gigantic bicycle wheel, the company said.

Currently, two of the world's largest cranes have been installed at the construction site setting the hub and spindle in place on top of the 126-metre-high legs.

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.

Omar Delawar, chief projects officer at Meraas, said: "Once completed, Ain Dubai will emerge as an engineering masterpiece and a spectacular attraction, adding a unique experience and vantage point to the list of things to do in Dubai. Ferris wheels and observation wheels offer the gentle thrill of being conveyed up in the air and have fascinated people for several hundred years."

Ain Dubai will be the centrepiece of Bluewaters Island, which will feature entertainment, retail, residential and hospitality offerings.

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