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Doha prepares to keep roads clear

As work begins on infrastructure projects in Qatar, increased traffic volumes will lead to road congestion

Keeping Doha moving is an issue as Qatar prepares to host football’s Fifa World Cup in 2022. The highest levels of government have highlighted the challenge, and the problem now rests with clients such as Qatar Railways Company (QRail) and the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), as they prepare to award billions of dollars of construction contracts this year.

The highest-profile contract awards in 2013 will be the packages on the Doha Metro scheme. The contracts for the Red Line North and Red Line South are due to be awarded by April and work will start by summer.

There will be some disruption on the surface and roads will be diverted, but the real issue is increased traffic volumes. QRail, the state firm handling the metro project, anticipates more than 4,000 truck movements a day.

The metro is only part of the congestion equation. There will be thousands more trucks serving other projects such as Ashghal’s expressway programme and the Inner Doha Re-sewerage Implementation Strategy.

Any congestion will have a detrimental effect on the economy. In 2006, Dubai estimated that congestion cost the city about $1bn a year, and Doha could expect a similar hit.

The good news is Dubai shows that metros and new highways do successfully alleviate congestion once they are operational. In the meantime, people will have to accept that congestion on Doha’s roads will get worse before it gets better.

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