DUBAI // Work to improve the waterways surrounding Dubai Marina is nearing completion, just in time to accommodate a new waterbus service that will run between the mall and Marina Walk.
The neighbourhood was intended to become the world's largest man-made harbour when developer Emaar announced plans for it in 2003. But since the completion of the residential towers surrounding the waterways, banks of sand had formed near some berths.
In particular, a number of berths directly behind Marina Mall became unusable after sand built up against docks and birds could be seen standing on a sandbank in the middle of thechannel.
But by April, Emaar should be finished work to make the channels deeper. A large dredging barge has been clearing sand around berths.
According to a spokesman for the developer, the barge is working in the marina to "increase its depth and further strengthen its efficiency".
"The commencement of dredging works has been communicated to boat owners beforehand as well as to the marina users," the spokesman said. The first phase of dredging was completed last year, and the current work is expected to continue for two more months.
"We are committed to offering a world-class marina experience, and we regret any inconvenience caused while the work is being undertaken," the spokesman said.
The work around Marina Mall comes just in time for the launch of a water bus service, announced yesterday by the Roads and Transport Authority.
Two new water bus stations were opened in the marina at the request of Emaar: one is located at the mall and the other at the Marina Walk.
The water buses will run between the stations, ferrying up to 36 passengers on a 12-minute journey.
The buses will operate every 15 minutes between 10am and 10pm on weekdays and from noon till midnight on the weekend.
As many as 700 boats moor in the marina, but owners said they have been largely unaffected by the sand and the dredging.
"We have always given the mall's marina a wide berth but it has never posed a problem," said one boat owner, who did not want to be named.
"Dubai has picked up again and everyone is getting their spades out and finishing off what they didn't do before the slowdown," he said. "It's good because once they finish it, it's finished."