Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is redesigning package seven of the Doha Expressway to accommodate planned rail networks in the country, according to a senior official at Ashghal.

“Package seven is now under commercial evaluation and will be finished soon. [It is scheduled] to be put to tender by the end of the year,” says Jamal Shareeda al-Kaabi, acting manager of the design department for roads and drainage at Ashghal.

Ashghal received bids from contractors to build an earlier design in August last year, but these bids were cancelled following the decision to redesign the interchange.

Ashghal has also replaced Germany’s Bilfinger & Berger two months ago for work on the first two packages of the Doha Expressway project due to a financial dispute. In its place, the authority has contracted three local companies, Boom Construction, Bin Omran and Qatar Asphalt, to carry out the work.

The first two packages cover work on what is known as the 22 February Interchange, and includes the construction of six kilometres of highway including a three-lane dual carriageway, underpasses and interchanges.

Bilfinger & Berger said in early September that it expected to be terminated on the QR1bn ($274m) contract. The company won the contracts in December 2005 in joint venture with the UAE’s Al-Hamed Development & Construction. The contract was one of the first to be awarded as part of Ashghal’s multi-billion dollar roads upgrade programme.

According to a statement posted on Bilfinger & Berger’s website Ashghal is not willing to settle outstanding debts running into hundreds of millions of euros.