Traffic movement between Hamad Port and Al Khor and further north got a boost on Sunday when the first phase of the Orbital Highway and Truck Route was formally opened.
Some 125km of the total 195km is now partially open, according to the Public Works Authority (Ashghal).
At the opening ceremony attended by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti and HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi, it was announced that the seven-lane-a-side highway, featuring two exclusive lanes for trucks, would be completely ready by the last quarter of 2018.
The opening took place at a location west of the Rayyan Stadium.
The project features 21 interchanges, which provide connectivity to vehicles to places such as Mesaieed, Wakrah, Rayyan, Sheehaniya, Umm Slal and Al Khor besides offering a number of links to Doha city and places falling within the Industrial Area.
Vehicles moving through a stretch of the Orbital Highway.
When the vital four-phase project was first announced in 2014, it was informed that it would cost approximately QR18.5bn.
The highway, when completed next year, is expected to provide congestion-free vehicular movement between the southern and northern sides of the country.
Speaking at the opening, HE al-Sulaiti said the movement of goods between Hamad Port and different places until Al Shamal Road will improve considerably when work on the remaining stretches along the route is completed.
The Ashghal authorities said the work is progressing at a fast pace and on Sunday three stretches, which together account for 69km, were formally opened. These are an 18km stretch between Hamad Port and the Industrial Area (which includes the Wukair bypass), a 33km stretch between Rayyan (west of Al Rayyan Stadium on Dukhan Road) and Umm Slal (on Shamal Road) and an 18km stretch between Umm Slal and Lusail.
Of the stretches opened on Sunday, three lanes each on either side of the highway between Hamad Port and the Industrial Area, five lanes each on either side between Rayyan and Umm Slal and three lanes on either side between Umm Slal and Lusail are now ready.
Meanwhile, HE al-Rumaihi said the highway would provide easy access to and a direct link between major residential, commercial and industrial areas in both the northern and southern parts.
Ashghal president Saad bin Ahmed al-Muhannadi, Orbital Highway project director Badr al-Darwish and Ashghal director for Roads and Infrastructural Affairs Yousef al-Emadi also spoke at the ceremony.