Sharq Crossing delay good for Qatar

20 January 2015

Construction market already overheating as other more essential projects continue to be built

The inevitable has started to happen. Doha has started to prioritise the projects it really needs for the 2022 Fifa World Cup, and has begun delaying non-essential infrastructure schemes.

The move may be initially regarded as a negative one, but as work on projects in Qatar continues to ramp up during 2015, it should be regarded as a positive.

The first major casualty is the $12bn Sharq Crossing scheme. The iconic project, designed by Spain’s Santiago Calatrava, was expected to be the postcard picture that tourists would flock to see when visiting Doha in 2022. Instead, if the delayed project moves ahead next year, their photos will be of a 12-kilometre long construction site.

While a completed scheme makes a better photo, delaying the construction of the Sharq Crossing gives Doha’s already overheating construction sector some respite. Construction companies will undoubtedly rue the work they will lose out on this year, but at the same time, those firms that are already working in Doha will welcome attempts to cool a market that is already stretching the supply chain to the limit.

The supply chain will continue to be tested this year as other more essential projects continue to be built, such as the main stadiums as well as key transport schemes such as major highways and the Doha Metro, which will be used to ferry visiting football fans around the city.

Work on the metro and the expressway programme really started to ramp up in 2014, and in 2015, as contracts for the major stadiums are awarded, contractors fear they will have to deal with severe price inflation, materials shortages and other supply chain issues as the market attempts to deliver too much too quickly.

Had the Sharq Crossing gone ahead as planned in 2015, it could have proved a bridge too far for those charged with delivering projects in Qatar ahead of the World Cup.

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