Canada-based WSP has been awarded a contract to design 45km of new roads, including four grade separated interchanges, on the southern section (phase 1) of the New Orbital Expressway and Truck Route project in Qatar.

The project involves the design of new highways and bridges, which will have four lanes in each direction, along with the provision of footpaths and cycle lanes. WSP will also design and upgrade major utilities diversions.

The objective of the project is to facilitate the distribution of traffic between the New Doha Port and Ras Laffan.

The New Orbital Expressway and Truck Route project is one of the largest schemes being delivered through Ashghal’s Expressway Programme, which will link the Mesaieed area to Al-Khor and Ras Laffan Industrial City.

The project is considered to be a vital addition to the roads network of Qatar. It will form a free-flowing traffic route connecting Qatar’s northern and southern regions, without the need to travel through Doha city. This will divert traffic outside the city, particularly trucks, and will enable easier movement of heavy vehicles through the city.

The Orbital Highway Project and Truck Route will encompass the design and construction of approximately 200km of dual carriageway, including 22 major intersections of bridges and tunnels. Major infrastructure improvements will be implemented as part of the project, including a storm water drainage network, treated sewage effluent networks, electrical and telecommunication networks, street lighting and electrical substations.

In January, Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) awarded a QR3.2bn ($878m) contract to a joint-venture of Cyprus-based J&P (Joannou & Paraskevaides) Overseas and Greece’s J&P Avax for the design and construction of the first phase of the project. The contract includes about 45km of road network and represents 25 per cent of the scheme.

Last week, Ashghal awarded  two design and construction contracts worth a total of QR10.4bn for the second phase of the scheme, which covers 41km of road. The first contract, valued at QR4.2bn, was awarded to a joint venture of the local QDVC and Bin Omran for the design and construction of the route from Salwa Road to North Relief Road. The project entails five lanes and two truck lanes in each direction, with the provision of two future lanes.

The second contract, valued at QR6.2bn, was awarded to the joint venture of Habtoor Leighton Group and AlJaber Engineering for the design and construction of Mesaieed to Salwa Road. The project will provide an orbital route of about five lanes and two separated truck lanes in each direction, also with the provision of two future lanes.