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Best Project, Airport/Port Colombo Port City Development Project Phase 1

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Monsoons and the often turbulent Indian Ocean did not stop construction of the first phase of Sri Lanka’s new Colombo Port City, a crucial future economic hub for the country. Crews completed work on a 269-hectare artificial island and related structures within 36 months, despite losing 18 months to impacts of monsoon season.

Port City, located between Dubai and Singapore, is intended to be South Asia’s premiere residential, retail and business destination, with more than 5 million sq m of built space within a meticulously planned urban area along the ocean’s warm waters. But the location also posed challenges related to wave motions.

The overall layout of the project under complex design wave conditions—such as swell and storm waves from varying directions—was determined based on wave and water exchange studies and 3D physical model testing.

Extensive 3D modeling and visualization methods helped analyze both wave and complex weather conditions to optimize design of artificial lagoons, beaches, canals, breakwaters and sand barriers.

Crews built the 5,325-m-long breakwater that has a geometrically closed core partially consisting of sand material, rock and interlocking concrete “pods” weighing from 17 tonnes to 22 tonnes and placed in predefined lozenge-shaped grids, says Deng Tao, design manager at CCCC-FHDI Engineering Co., Ltd., the lead project designer.

The artificial island consists of 71 million sq m of sand, with an average reclamation thickness of 20 m. Twelve types of rock material were used, obtained from 20 quarries located about 50 km away, says Tao.

Within the 36-month construction period, the available time to build the land area formation was only 23 months due to monsoon season, with protective structures needed to be completed in only 18 months.

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