*13km stretch from Umm Lekhba Interchange to Bu Hamour Bridge launched

The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) on Saturday announced the launch of the first phase of the Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor with the 13km stretch from Umm Lekhba Interchange in the north to Bu Hamour Bridge opening up for traffic.

The newly-opened part of the highway consists of seven bridges, including Qatar’s first cable-stayed bridge, taking the number of opened bridges on the corridor to 21 out of the total 32, and one tunnel. Three bridges were opened at each of the Umm Lekhba and Al Waab intersections while the tunnel was opened at Al Luqta. The longest bridge is 2.6km long.

The cable-stayed bridge, which is now partially open with a length of 1.2km, is the first of its kind in Qatar and provides free-flowing traffic between Al Waab and Bu Hamour.

Youssef al-Emadi, Projects Affairs director at Ashghal; Bader Darwish, manager of Ashghal's Highway Project Department; Captain Saoud Abdullah al-Hamad from the General Directorate of Traffic; representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Communication; Central Municipal Council members; and officials and engineers from Ashghal and the contracting company attended the opening ceremony.

In a press statement issued by the authority, Dr Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi, Ashghal president, said the opening came despite many challenges including the unjust blockade and the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the opening is a testimonial of the work proceeding without interruption, thanking the country’s support for overcoming all obstacles.

Al-Emadi told Gulf Times that the new openings were carried out six months ahead of schedule and they will provide free traffic flow on the corridor and shorten travel time by more than 50%. “The road can now accommodate more than 8,000 vehicles per hour in both directions having a positive effect on traffic on 22 February Street and providing new alternatives for road users,” he said adding that the project is expected to be completed in 2021.

Bader Darwish said that the new openings will provide free traffic flow all the way from Umm Lekhba Interchange on Al Shamal Road to Hamad International Airport (HIA) reducing traffic pressure on 22 February Street especially with the start of the new school year.

Ali Ibrahim from the Highway Project Department noted that the three new bridges at Umm Lekhba Interchange provide new entrances and exits to Al Gharrafa area. Mohamed Sami from the Highway Projects Department indicated that Al Waab Interchange is witnessing its first opening after converting the traffic light to a three-level intersection where the rest of the vital intersection work is being completed. He said it will be fully opened to traffic this year.

Ashghal has opened new sections at Al Waab Interchange, where it opened a 2.6km-long main bridge, as the longest bridge in Qatar that extends from Al Rayyan Tunnel, and passing over the well-known Lekhwya Interchange and Al Waab Street Interchange. A bridge was also opened to connect traffic coming from Rashida Interchange to the main bridge (Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor) with a length of 386m, and the opening of a third bridge linking traffic coming from Al Sadd at Al Waab Interchange with Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor towards Salwa.

Three new bridges were opened at Umm Lekhba Interchange bringing the number of bridges that were opened at the largest intersection in the country to five out of nine. The opening includes the link bridge from the north in the direction of Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor and Al Gharrafa to include two lanes in one direction with a length of 1,100m. The bridge opposite to Al Gharrafa and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor towards Al Shamal was opened to include two lanes in one direction with a length of 1,400m while the bridge linking traffic coming from Doha in the direction of Al Gharrafa and Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor was opened to include one lane in one direction also with a length of 1,000m. The three bridges will ease traffic movement in the area and reduce traffic pressure on 22 February Street, especially on Al Gharrafa Interchange.

Al Luqta Tunnel intersects with Khalifa Street and two lanes here link Al Luqta and Al Gharrafa providing an alternative road to the nearby Tilted Intersection.

Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor extends for approximately 25km from Hamad International Airport to Umm Lekhba Interchange on Doha Expressway. The total road works of the project are approximately 37km. It will significantly contribute to relieve traffic congestion on Doha Expressway in particular, 22 February Street once completed in 2021.

The new corridor will be a vital alternative route that will serve thousands of daily commuters from the north to the south of Doha.

Commuters travelling from Hamad International Airport via the new corridor will be able to reach Umm Lekhba Intersection in approximately 18 minutes compared to the current 50 minutes via Doha Expressway and 22 February Street, reducing traffic time by 70%.

The corridor will also form the main link between the north and the south of Doha and create a vital connection between Doha Expressway and Southern Part of Doha Express Highway (Al Wakra Bypass) as well as to Mesaieed Road further south through Al Watiyyat Interchange in Al Thumama where its distribution point to Doha Expressway on one side and to Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor on the other side.

Once completed, Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor will link the south and north parts of Doha without the need to pass through Doha Expressway and 22 February Street. Works as part of the corridor include upgrading E-Ring, F-Ring, Mesaimeer, Al Bustan, Bu Erayyen and Lebday roads and sections of Al Markhiya Street. In addition, Ashghal will enhance 12km of local and peripheral roads intersecting with the corridor.

Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor has the longest bridge as well as the deepest and longest bi-directional tunnel.

It serves 25 densely populated residential areas such as Al Thumama, Al Nuaija, Bu Hamour, Al Waab, Al Rayyan, Al Luqta and Al Gharrafa. The corridor provides easy access to some of Doha Metro stations such as the Economic Zone, Al Waab and Al Rayyan Al Qadeem.

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