The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has opened a new 750m-long tunnel at Al Gassar Interchange on Lusail Expressway.
The new tunnel will provide free-flowing traffic from Lusail and The Pearl-Qatar towards Katara-the Cultural Village and surrounding hotels and facilities as the passage offers a direct connection between Lusail Expressway and the Al Khafji Street extension.
The opening took place in the presence of Ashghal Highway Department manager Youssef al-Emadi, Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, Central Municipal Council (CMC) member Jassim al-Malki along with a number of Ashghal officials and project engineers.
The tunnel incorporates two one-way lanes to accommodate more than 3,500 vehicles per hour along with a hard shoulder to prevent any traffic disruptions inside the underground passage, Ashghal has said in a statement.
The opening is among a series of milestones achieved on Lusail Expressway, which was opened to traffic in December 2017 to enhance traffic mobility in the surrounding areas. The new road led to a reduction in journey time by over 70% compared to the old road, Ashghal stressed.
Major overhaul and expansion works have taken place on the previous road, which involved two lanes in each direction to cater to around 3,500 vehicles per hour. The road capacity was more than doubled to approximately 8,000 vehicles per hour after increasing the number of lanes to four tracks in each direction and up to six and eight lanes in some sections of the new highway. Five roundabouts were also converted into three multi-level interchanges to provide free-flowing traffic in all directions.
On this occasion, project engineer Abdullah Qassim said the new tunnel is part of the four-level Al Gassar Interchange that consists of five tunnels and a flyover, linking traffic between Lusail Expressway and Al Khafji Street.
Continuing the achievements of Ashghal on Lusail Expressway, he said the new tunnel will reduce the transit time as motorists travelling from Lusail towards Katara and nearby hotels will have direct access now and no longer require any diversions.
“Before the opening of the underground passage, road users travelling from The Pearl-Qatar and Legtaifiya, for instance, to Katara and neighbouring hotels would have turned right at Al Gassar Interchange onto Al Khafji Street to Qatar University Street, then do a U-turn or continue driving to the 5/6 Interchange and then do a U-turn,” he explained
“The murals that Katara Tunnel is characterised by are among the architectural and artistic elements inspired by the Qatari pearl diving marine heritage. These patterns, which are derived from the fisherman’s net with its blue colour, suggest that they are ripples of a diver under the water, and at the end of the tunnel the ripples fade away in the horizon. The lighting poles were also chosen in a new way to add an aesthetic dimension in line with the overall design,” Qassim said.
Lusail Expressway is one of the key projects of the Expressway Programme that the Public Works Authority is implementing. It is located in a vital area that connects Doha with Lusail City, and covers many public destinations such as The Pearl-Qatar in the north, via Katara and the Diplomatic Area, and a big number of residential areas, hotels, malls and other facilities.
The project work area stretches over 5.5km from Lusail City in the north to the West Bay area in the south. The project works include three main multi-level interchanges, which are the Pearl Interchange, Al Gassar Interchange and 5/6 Interchange, in addition to two bridges over the South and North Canal crossings near The Pearl-Qatar and Lusail City.
The design also focuses on enhancing traffic safety for pedestrians and providing a healthy lifestyle by building a total of 13km of pedestrian and cycling paths, in addition to a big number of feeder service roads to connect different destinations with the expressway.
One of the most prominent architectural monuments in Doha, the arches of the 5/6 Interchange - which was launched on December 16, 2017 – make it an icon of creativity and engineering achievement.
Officials mark the opening of the tunnel
A view of Lusail Expressway.
* Saied al-Nuaimi: “I live in the Al Wahda area close to the Arches and use Lusail Expressway on a daily basis. In terms of travel time, road users used to face up to one hour of traffic in the past, which required police presence to help facilitate the movement of vehicles. Now, with an increased number of lanes, the travel time has significantly reduced and I can reach The Pearl-Qatar area within five minutes or so.
“I would like to thank the Public Works Authority and the project team for their efforts in developing Qatar’s road network.”
* Abdulaziz Fahd al-Khulaifi: “I am a daily commuter on Lusail Expressway as I live in the Al Wahda area and work in Al Dafna. The newly opened road’s layout with its tunnels and increased lane capacity has significantly improved traffic flow. Achieving such an accomplishment despite a regional blockade is a symbol of national pride.”
* Aisha Khalifa al-Hajri: “Travelling daily on Lusail Expressway is now a pleasant free-flowing journey with efficient connectivity to several key areas such as Katara, The Pearl-Qatar and Al Dafna and local roads such us Omar Al Mukhtar Street.
“I would like to thank the Public Works Authority for their efforts in upgrading the road infrastructure across the State of Qatar.”
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