The General Directorate of the Traffic Department has reduced the speed limit on Doha's February 22nd Street to 80km from 100km since Thursday, local Arabic daily Arrayah reported.
The February 22nd Street is an integral part of Qatar’s first freeway, the QR15bn Doha Expressway project launched by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) in 2007.
The February 22nd / Al Amir Street Interchange, which opened to traffic in June 2010, comprises phases one and two of the project, spanning a 6km, three-lane dual carriageway between Gharrafa Interchange and Asiri Interchange.
All the signs indicating the speed limit have been replaced with new ones of 80km. A source told Arrayah that the traffic department's decision to lower the speed limit aims at reducing the number of road accidents on the street and ease congestion, both of which had become the regular happenings.
"The reduction in the maximum speed to 80km will enable motorists to be more focused on the road and avoid causing accidents," the source explained while revealing that the reduction of speed limit is on an experimental basis for now.
The traffic movement on the road will be monitored for some time and based on the assessment of the outcome, a decision will be taken whether to keep the speed limit at 80km or revert to 100km.
The source explained that it has been clearly noticed that when an accident happen on the February 22nd Street, up to five to seven vehicles are involved on many occasions, holding up traffic for a long time. A majority of the accidents on the busy street could be attributed to motorists not leaving enough space ahead of them.
It was the severity of congestion on this street that prompted the Traffic Department to launch in September 2013 a helicopter patrol to give guidance to cops on the ground during the rush hours.
Being a part of Al Shamal Road, which links Doha to the extreme north of the country, February 22nd Street is the most preferred route of motorists coming to the capital city from the northern side and vice versa and hence one of the busiest. The Traffic Department is also exploring the possibility of expanding the thoroughfare and some of its exits, it is learnt.
Arrayah also reported that a cross-section of Qatari motorists expressed their disapproval of the reduction of the maximum speed on February 22nd Street stressing that this sudden change will perplex motorists and may lead to even more accidents.
"The Traffic Department should have given more publicity ahead of the change to prepare people for it. Rather than reducing the speed limit, the street should be modified with more exit points and service lanes expanded," a citizen suggested.