Update: Nov 27, with Qatar Rail statement on works delays until Nov 29.
The sudden closure of a section of F-Ring Road, which is one of the key routes to Hamad International Airport, has caused traffic gridlock over the past two days as motorists try to find alternative routes.
Qatar Rail has shut a stretch of the new highway from the junction with Al Mater Street/Al Wakrah Road, which is known as Air Force interchange, up to the junction with Najma Street for five days.
Two main lanes in each direction on F-Ring Road have been closed since yesterday (Nov. 18) and the works were set to continue until Nov. 22, Qatar Rail said in a closure notice posted on its Instagram page.
The company also posted information about the closure on its website, but not until this morning.
However, the works in the area have hit delays, and Qatar Rail announced that the closure to the main stretch of F-Ring Road would be in place for a further week, until Nov. 29.
“Due to additional mechanical works required at the site related to the upcoming Doha Metro project, the diversion of the F-ring road diversion at the Air force interchange is extended until Nov. 29. This has been agreed with MOI and its major stakeholders,” the organization said in a statement to Doha News.
While service roads are still open each way, drivers have reported that traffic during peak hours is backed up to Al Thumama, and have been warning other motorists to avoid the area.
Huge traffic in F Ring Road towards HIA @dohanews pic.twitter.com/eYsbvYXX5U
— Jassim Abdul Aziz (@jassidoha) November 18, 2015
@dohanews @DohaTweetups massive #trafficjam from Kahramma awareness park #Thumama all the way upto F ring road, seems like upto Wakra road
— JMS (@jmsqatar) November 18, 2015
Tweeple if on way to #HIA #Qatar #airport avoid route from Thumama towards F ring road there's massive #gridlock #trafficjam #Doha @dohanews
— Sumit Pond Malhotra (@sumitisnow) November 18, 2015
The latest lane closures are the second of three phases of work around F-Ring Road that Qatar Rail is conducting as part of Doha Metro construction.
The first phase affected the west-bound service lane between Ras Abu Aboud Expressway and Al Wakrah Road last week.
In the final phase, the service lane on the same stretch of road but heading in the other direction (toward HIA) will be shut from Nov. 23 until Nov. 24, Qatar Rail said.
In a statement on the closures, the organization said it was to enable the installation of gantries which are used to construct “viaducts and bridges” of the elevated Metro track that will run nearby.
” It is extremely unsafe for any light vehicle to be present while installing the launching gantries at this area and hence the underpass has been closed.
“Qatar Rail would like to take this opportunity to apologize for any inconvenience the public may experience due to this road diversion. In the meantime, and in line with the company’s core principle to Keep Doha Moving, an alternative route will be provided through the 209 and 270 streets,” it added.
The site of the work is adjacent to the new Red Line Metro route. This runs from Al Wakrah through Msheireb and north out of the city by the Golf Club. It also connects with Terminal 1 of HIA.
Officials hope that the Doha Metro, which aims to become operational in 2019, will ease the traffic gridlock that routinely plagues Qatar commuters.
F-Ring Road is one of the newest main routes to be built by Qatar’s public works authority Ashghal as part of a country-wide expansion of its key roads through its Expressway program.
The $230 million project included the construction of a 7.2km eight-lane expressway, with four lanes in each direction, and a two-lane service road on both sides. It is supposed to provide the “missing link” between Mesaimeer St.
The section from Al Wakrah Road to beyond Najma Road opened last December, while the western stretch around Industrial Area Road took a few more months.
Were you stuck in the diversions? Thoughts?