Qatar Rail has awarded a new multi-million dollar contract to extend the Doha Metro to one of the country’s key World Cup venues south of the city, according to the winning construction consortium.
Spain-based FCC said in a statement this week that the €506 million (QR2.57 billion) project involves building elevated stations at what it calls Barwa Village, Al Wakrah and the Qatar Economic Zone. (Qatar Rail has previously referred to the stations Al Wakra Waterfront, Al Wakra CC and Al Wakra South).
FCC said the 7km section would take 31 months to complete, but did not elaborate on when work would begin. The company is already building a pair of pedestrian walkways in Lusail and is working on the second phase of the Barzan camp project in Al Wajba. It is also building three lines of the Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia.
The population of Al Wakrah has been growing in recent years, as more residents begin opting to live in the suburbs instead of the overcrowded Qatari capital Doha.
Officials hope that the Doha Metro, which aims to become operational in 2019, will ease the traffic gridlock that routinely plagues Qatar commuters.
It is also supposed to play a critical role in transporting spectators to and from football venues during the 2022 World Cup.
Site preparations have begun on the Al Wakrah Stadium, the first of up to 12 venues that will be readied for the international tournament. Construction is supposed to get underway this year.
The three-station Al Wakrah rail segment would be part of the Red Line, a major north-south route connecting Hamad International Airport, Msheireb, West Bay and Lusail, where passengers can transfer to light-rail vehicles that will travel up to Al Khor.
Qatar Rail awarded US$8.4 billion (QR30 billion) in contracts last summer to construct the bulk of the first phase of the Doha Metro in five years. The section being constructed by FCC builds on those initial contracts and extends the Red Line further south, bringing the overall metro network closer to the rail system that’s envisioned for 2022.
A Qatar-based FCC employee referred Doha News’ questions to Qatar Rail, which did not respond to a request for comment.
As construction crews prepare to begin tunneling beneath Doha in earnest, government planners are simultaneously looking at ways to build a broader public transit network across the city.
Speaking at a conference earlier this week, Wail Taki – an infrastructure expert at Qatar’s public works authority, Ashghal – said the government is planning new “feeder” bus routes that would bring passengers to metro stations.
Taki also said the government is considering the construction of more park-and-ride lots, where commuters can leave their vehicles and board a public transit vehicle.
There are currently parking lots at Khalifa Tennis Complex and General Post Office servicing the recently introduced West Bay Bus, and Taki said more are planned in an attempt to ease the demand for parking around Dafna’s skyscrapers.
“A lot of people complain about parking at our building,” he said, referring to Ashghal’s office just north of Sheraton Roundabout. “But you don’t have to park (right) in front. You can park a little ways away and take the bus.”
Separately, Taki said a feasibility study is underway to examine the possibility of constructing dedicated bus lanes along Salwa Road.