As part of its continuing efforts to ensure safety of school premises, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has completed improving the road safety features surrounding 465 schools across the country.
This accounts for 88% of the total number of schools included in the School Zone Safety Programme in addition to ongoing works to complete the implementation of safety plans for 38 schools as part of Ashghal's readiness for the new academic year 2020-2021, according to a statement.
Ashghal is implementing a comprehensive and continuous plan with international standards to ensure road safety features are in place on the roads surrounding schools, thus enhancing security and safety of students, parents and educational staff.
According to a study conducted by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), Ashghal has co-ordinated with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the National Road Safety Committee to identify school areas in need of development.
Before and after pictures of safety measures implemented in a school zone.
The list of schools is assessed and revised on a monthly and annual basis with the number of schools in need of development increasing each year. This year priority was given to approximately 533 schools spread across various areas in Qatar.
In addition to the completed and ongoing safety works, design plans are in progress for 25 schools and have been completed for five additional schools with work expected to commence as soon as necessary approvals are obtained from entities concerned. It is worth noting that 100% schools included in the school zone safety plan for 2020 are in different stages of implementation.
Engineer Hassen al-Hamadi, head of Highways Operation & Maintenance Section, said that Ashghal gives the School Zone Safety Programme high priority as it is one of the key elements to achieve the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS 2013 – 2022).
"The objective is to ease traffic congestion in these areas, separate vehicles from pedestrians and improve unpaved roads to achieve higher safety levels ensuring safe entry and exit of students and parents from schools," al-Hamadi said.
The school zone safety programme works include the establishment and development of roads at the highest level of safety in the school zones by providing designated car parks and building medians and small roundabouts in order to manage traffic flow in those areas.
“As part of the programme, Roads Operation and Maintenance Department (ROMD) installs a number of directional signs and provides road markings near schools to alert drivers of the speed limit set at 30 km/h," he added.
Speed humps with specific specifications are installed for speed reduction in addition to creating safe pedestrians paths for road users and people with special needs. ROMD teams also upgrade and maintain pedestrian paths at the entrances and exits of schools.
In an aim to ensure safe entrances to schools, which overlook main streets, bright coloured rumble strips are placed to alert drivers when arriving or leaving the school district with clear warning signals to ensure safety of the entire school community.