In the 1980’s, the Dead Sea Works Company, which mines potash from the Dead Sea, began an expansion which would produce a great increase of material needing transportation to the railhead for shipment. This railhead lies eighteen kilometers away (as the bird flies), and eight hundred meters higher in elevation. The company chose to build a conveyor belt; however, since the conveyor belt had to pass through a nature reserve, the Natural Reserve Authority objected. We were asked to arbitrate and to present a new plan acceptable to all parties.
Our team rerouted the belt to require the least amount of damaging earthwork. All excavated material had to be taken out of the site, as dumping was not allowed on the flanks of the hills. In order to keep free movement for desert wildlife and hikers, we specified that the belt be supported by a succession of concrete pylons and six more steel bridges than originally proposed. Some of the bridges were lengthened significantly in order not to change the existing topography. Sixteen bridges were constructed and more than a million tons of earth moved over difficult terrain. Yet the lasting damage to the landscape is negligible.
Dead Sea Works
Conveyor belt design and construction: Cable belt, Camberley, U.K.
Infrastructure and Engineering Projects