Ashghal, the Public Works Authority, is making impressive strides living up to its motto, ‘Qatar deserves the best’. The efficient and meticulous manner in which Ashghal has been delivering projects one after another makes the nation proud. It is indeed commendable that the agency has completed 90% of the highways leading to stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup despite the ongoing economic blockade, as reported by Gulf Times the other day. The stadiums will be served by certain highways and most of the construction work for these facilities has been done, according to Yousef al-Emadi, manager, highway projects department at Ashghal.
Of course, the government is providing all the support to Ashghal, but the vision and commitment of the agency’s top management and engineers deserve applause for delivering projects on schedule by overcoming the challenges of the blockade. Given the track record, when al-Emadi says “we can guarantee that we will be able to finish all projects even before the country will start hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” there is no need to have even an iota of doubt as Ashghal has been proving its capability time and again. As the official pointed out, Ashghal had accomplished many infrastructure milestones in 2018 and started 2019 with another accomplishment – the partial opening of Qatar’s longest and deepest bi-directional tunnel, which is part of the construction of the Al Rayyan Road upgrade project phase two.
The new tunnel is a major link between Bu Erayen and Lebday Streets, spanning the Al Mokafaha and Lebday interchange. The tunnel is 1.5km long and sits 25m below ground level. At this initial stage, two out of four lanes in each direction will be delivered, accommodating 8,000 vehicles per hour in each direction. The tunnel forms part of the complex three-level Al Mokafaha interchange. At-grade (ground level) is a signalised junction, which facilitates traffic movements in all directions, including Al Waab, Bani Hajer and Doha. Beneath is an underpass that allows road users to travel seamlessly between Doha and Bani Hajer. The tunnel is beneath the underpass, both of which replace the old roundabout.
The newly-opened section of the road and tunnel will reduce travel time between Bu Erayen and Lebday Street and Al Luqta and Al Waab by up to 65%, because of increased lane capacity and removal of the existing diversions, and reduce traffic congestion on 22 February Street, as highlighted by project manager Jumah al-Bader. Motorists have already started experiencing the benefits. Ashghal successfully overcame many challenges during the construction. It was necessary to establish multiple traffic diversions and the construction of two temporary signalised intersections to facilitate the progress of works. Excavating 25m below ground level meant that the project team had to manage extremely large quantities of groundwater.
Last month, a Qatar News Agency report quoted Ashghal president Dr Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi as saying that roads leading to the World Cup stadiums “will be completed by 2020” and construction work along the Al Khor Expressway will be completed by the end of 2019. Thanks to Ashghal, infrastructure projects are on track.
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