Doha has delayed the delivery of its landmark Sharq Crossing scheme by about a year as the government has decided the estimated $12bn scheme does not need to be complete in time for Fifa’s football World Cup in 2022.

Qatar’s construction market showed signs of overheating during 2015 as contractors started work on major projects such as the Doha Metro and various expressway schemes.

“The crossing is a nice-to-have project for the World Cup, not a need-to-have project,” says a source close to the scheme. “Doha is focusing on what it really needs now.”

The delay to the causeway means construction work will not start this year, says another source close to the project. Dredging and reclamation work together with land-based enabling works were expected to start during 2015.

The project, which was formerly known as Doha Bay Crossing, had been the subject of growing speculation during the latter half of 2014 as progress slowed and a consultant was not hired to finalise the packages and prepare the tender documents.

The consultancy role involved working closely with Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, who prepared the concept designs for the bridges for the 12-kilometre-long crossing.

The Sharq Crossing project was officially launched in December 2013 by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal). It is one of the biggest infrastructure schemes planned in Qatar and involves building three bridges interconnected by subsea tunnels across Doha Bay, which, when completed, will link Doha’s new Hamad International airport with the city’s cultural district of Katara and the central business area of West Bay.

Ashghal appointed US-based Fluor Corporation in April 2013 as the programme management consultant to supervise the development of the project.

If the project is accelerated in 2016, tenders could follow fairly quickly. Contractors submitted a second set of prequalification documents for the scheme on 18 October 2014. It is understood 13-14 groups were invited by Ashghal to submit stage 2 documents for the tunnels, and 19-21 groups have been invited to submit forms for the bridges.

The work will be split into eight packages:

  • Land-based enabling works;
  • Marine-based enabling works;
  • West Bay approach and bridge;
  • Cultural City approach and bridge;
  • Sharq approach and bridge;
  • Immersed tunnel and marine interchange;
  • Surface street modifications;
  • Systems integration contract.

There will also be an operations and maintenance (O&M) contract.

The most significant packages are the design-and-build contracts covering the West Bay approach and bridge, the Cultural City approach and bridge, the Sharq approach and bridge, and the immersed tunnel and marine interchange contract.