All photos by Avi Viljoen
Offering a unique glimpse into work on the Doha Metro’s Green Line, photographer Avi Viljoen posted these photos on his Flickr page earlier this year.
According to those working on the site, the project hit a major milestone last month, when six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) began operating simultaneously to make way for the east-west line, which is slated to open to passenger traffic in 2019.
Each mammoth machine apparently takes more than 100 people to operate, and precise care must be taken to ensure that the tunneling – which is only done some 25m under the surface – isn’t felt above ground.
When the first phase is complete, the Green Line will begin at Al Rayyan Stadium and briefly run at ground level before descending into a tunnel below the Dukhan Highway, which turns into Al Luqta Street as it passes Education City.
After stopping at the under-construction Qatar National Library, the Green Line turns south at Huwar Street.
It turns east at Al Rayyan Al Jadeed Street, crosses under the Doha Expressway and then runs alongside Al Rayyan Road. It arches north as it crosses the Hamad Medical Center before turning almost due south into Msheireb.
Tunnel boring machines
As of January, 15 of the 21 custom-made TBMs needed to dig out the underground tunnels for the network had arrived in Qatar.
In December, Qatar Rail Managing Director Abdulla Abdulaziz al-Subaie said all 21 of the machines would be deployed this year as work picks up pace to meet the looming deadlines.
However, at least one was recently knocked out of commission after part of the Red Line North tunnel flooded in late February.
The first tunnel boring machine arrived in Qatar in April last year, while the next four arrived two months later. Specifically manufactured by Germany-based Herrenknecht, the machines will be used to cut holes 20 meters beneath the city’s ground for all the lines.
Qatar Rail previously said that each machine would travel up to 9km over a two-year period. In total, they will excavate an estimated 5 million cubic meters of earth.