Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is close to formally selecting a firm for the project management consultancy contract for its Doha Bay Crossing Scheme.

Sources close to the project in Doha say that the frontrunner for the deal is a team of the US’ Fluor and the local office of KEO International Consultants. Ashghal received proposals from consultants in February.

The scheme, which could cost about $15bn, will cross Doha Bay and will connect the Lusail development, West Bay and the New Doha International Airport, which is scheduled to open later in 2012, through a mixture of both tunnels and bridges.

Final designs for the project have not yet been prepared and sources say that it could be delivered using a series of design and build packages that would see the contract completing the final drawings.

The outline design is understood to involve three bridge sections that will be connected to an immersed tunnel eight kilometres in length. The crossing will consist of an expressway with six lanes in total, with three lanes in each direction.

Spanish architecture firm Santiago Calatrava was awarded the contract to complete the concept design for the causeway last year.

The scheme is Ashghal’s largest single project and will supplement the QR100bn ($27.5bn) it plans to spend upgrading the country’s roads and drainage infrastructure.

Ashghal recently awarded a QR3.5bn contract to South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction for the Lusail Expressway project in Doha and a QR2.33bn deal to the UAE’s Al-Jaber Group for package 13 of the Doha Expressway scheme, which involves the construction of 10km of four-lane highway and three interchanges.

Project managers were selected at the end of July for Qatar Rail’s Doha Metro project. The selected firms are: A team of US-based Louis Berger and France’s Egis Rail, US-based Hill International and another US-based firm Jacobs Engineering.