Qatar is moving full steam ahead on several key developments ahead of the 2022 World Cup, announcing this week some $13.2 billion (QR48.2 billion) worth of investment in its healthcare and transportation systems.
The majority of that expenditure – a whopping $10.4 billion (QR38 billion) is to be channeled into the health sector over the next five years.
It will be spent on services and staffing rather than infrastructure, as part of Qatar’s National Health Strategy (NHS), which is two years into its five-year overhaul. Its goals include developing integrated healthcare systems, preventing disease and training Qataris to work in the health service.
The other part of the investment is in major road projects, the most headline-grabbing of which is the new Orbital Expressway (pictured above). The $148.3 million (QR540 million) will stretch from Al Khor in the north to Mesaieed in the south, diverting heavy industrial traffic away from Doha.
- A 20-km long East West Corridor, aimed at reducing pressure on routes to the new airport;
- A bypass for Wakrah, and a redesign of the road that passes through the town;
- Upgrading E-ring road into four lanes;
- Installing an Al Khor bypass;
- Building two multi-level intersections on Mesaimeer road;
- Designing a new outer ring road covering the Eastern Industrial Area, and Al Furousiya Street;
- Widening Al Saad street; and
- Upgrading 8kms of road in the Wholesale Market area.
Ashghal is aiming to have all of these projects completed by early 2016.
All in all, it looks like residents are going to be dealing with a huge number of road works and resulting traffic jams in the next few years, before enjoying the fruits of that construction.
Ashghal officials, however, said they are determined to press ahead with plans that they called essential for Qatar’s future.
When asked whether the existing road network would be able to cope with the increase in traffic that the transportation of raw materials and labourers needed for the new roads would cause, they replied:
“Even if it is not sufficient, we have to do it… Committees are trying to find solutions to address these problems.”
Credit: Image of expressway route courtesy of Ashghal