Browsing 'infrastructure' News

Ashghal

Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is taking up new infrastructural projects to meet expanding need to urbanise the country’s landscape.

Euromonitor International reported, population of Qatar is to see an addition of 2.3 million people by the year 2030, with migration being the major driving factor. Hence, the existing infrastructure will not suffice to accommodate the additional population for which Qatar is preparing itself.

Infrastructural projects are also undertaken to increase Qatar’s capability to effectively host 2022 FIFA World Cup and further achieve its developmental objectives streamlined by Qatar National Vision 2030 by creating a sustainable infrastructure.

Since, traffic congestion is a major problem in Qatar, Ashghal has announced two road projects under its Infrastructure development valued $27 billion.

The  first road project, the Expressway Programme, expected to deliver approximately 800km of safe and efficient roads through the implementation of over 30 projects divided into 46 contracts, includes integrated infrastructure network equipped with state-of-the-art, reliable underground utilities, including storm water networks, electrical services and intelligent transport systems. The programme currently has 10 projects under construction with a total value of over $13 billion.

The second is the nationwide local area infrastructure programme to develop and upgrade local roads, drainage and new infrastructure across the country’s four regions namely BaniHajer North (Rawdat Egdaim), the Al Gharrafa Sewage Scheme and Rawdat AbalHeeran.

Ashghal is also planning to upgrade its existing infrastructure towards sustainability after receiving two sustainability awards, three-star GSAS certification in design and construction in MENA region by the Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD). It will  be focussed on educational buildings, including schools and kindergartens, and health buildings, embodying the principle of conservation of natural resources, encouraging the use of recycled materials, and promoting the efficient use of water and renewable energy.

Ashghal has also announced plans to build 60-70 healthcare centres over the span of next 10 years of which, ongoing projects include four health centres in Muaither, Al Waab, Al Wajba and Al Jamaa, all of whom are achieving steady progress on schedule.

However, such infrastructural development planned to achieve long term goals, are bound to attract a lot of public inconvenience during the implementation process. Hence, it is important that Ashghal simultaneously plans to cause minimal public inconvenience and ensure that the project of sustainable infrastructure development is in sync with protection of labour rights too.

Flooding in Najma

Chantelle D'mello

Flooding in Najma

Qatar’s public works authority Ashghal has announced more road closures in the Najma as work continues to upgrade the old sewage network in the area.

The closures take effect on Monday, July 20 for eight weeks and will be in two parts.

The first part includes a short, 113m stretch of Najma St. where it meets Ibn Shuaib St. until the junction of Hamza bin Malik St., which will be shut in both directions until Sept. 11, the public works authority said.

Nearby Sikkat Al Ibreez St. and Maslama bin Ahmed St. off off Ibn Shuaib St. will also be closed until the fall.

Najma road closures

Ashghal

Najma road closures

Motorists coming from Mansoura St. can use the two-way Hamza bin Malik St. to access Nawfal Bin Al Harith St., which is also a two-way street, and then continue onto one-way Ibn Shuaib St., Ashghal said in a statement.

The second part of the closures affect a 110m stretch of Najma Street, from where it meets Hamza bin Malik St. to the intersection with Al Mansoura Street.  The lane heading toward Al Mansoura St. will be closed, but one lane will be open for traffic heading south from Al Mansoura St.

Diversions will be in place, re-routing down Hamza Bin Malik St. to reach Nawfal Bin Al Harith St., where both directions will remain open to traffic.

Drainage overhaul

Najma has seen several road closures this summer as contractors work to replace and upgrade the aging sewer network and infrastructure.

Last month, Ashghal announced temporary closures to part of Al Khalidya Street and adjacent back roads as works got underway, while there have also been road closures to widen streets and help relieve traffic congestion in the busy area.

Flooding in Mansoura following rain in March 2014.

Paul Trafford/Flickr

Flooding in Mansoura following rain in March 2014.

Plans for a significant overhaul of the sewer system were announced last July, when Ashghal said it would replace 20km of pipeline, 500 sewer manholes and 1,000 house and commercial connections by the end of this year.

Residents in the area and in neighboring older districts of town have long complained that drains get backed up and officials at the authority admitted the old network was struggling to cope with the increased demand as the population has grown in recent years.

Old pipelines will be replaced with ones with larger diameters to handle sewage disposed by close to a million inhabitants in southern Doha, Ashghal said.

Once completed, the new drainage system will feature efficient, environmentally friendly pump stations with fewer emissions. The infrastructure is expected to last the area some 50 years.

Are you affected by the road closures? Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

April Younglove / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar has postponed plans to build a new chicken farm complex that would have helped bolster its food security, according to a company that would have helped finance the project.

Doha-based private bank Investment House had been working to raise some QR750 million (US$206 million) through a planned initial public offering (IPO) for a company that aimed to nearly quadruple the amount of home-grown poultry and eggs in Qatar.

Watania chicken

Watania

Watania chicken

The farm was part of a wider strategy to increase the amount of locally produced foodstuffs to reduce Qatar’s current overwhelming reliance on imported produce.

Through the IPO, Investment House had planned to raise around half of the total amount of funding required for the 5.7 sq km complex, which would have had the capacity to produce up to 40,000 tons of chicken and 7.5 tons of eggs each year.

The rest of the funding would ideally have come from private investors, the government said in an announcement made in December.

However, earlier this week Investment House CEO Hashem Al-Aqeel was quoted by Reuters as saying that it had been ordered by regulators to put its flotation plans on hold.

While he did not give a reason for the move, or a new timeline for the IPO’s launch, the announcement comes amid a period of belt-tightening in Qatar, as a number of projects not directly related to the 2022 World Cup have either been shelved or scaled back.

This is in part due to the sudden drop of oil prices since last June, which are also forecast to bring down gas prices in the coming year.

“The lower oil price is affecting Qatar – we are seeing a slowdown in the rate of investment here in the construction, banking and energy sectors,” Al Aqeel told Reuters.

Project delays

The poultry farm isn’t the only project on hold.

Last month, Dubai-based business intelligence firm MEED reported that the 12km Sharq Crossing would be delayed.

Sharq Crossing

Designed to deal with Doha’s increasing traffic issues, the project involving building a series of tunnels and bridges to connect Hamad International Airport, Katara Cultural Village and the Dafna/West Bay business district.

MEED previously put a price tag of around $12 billion on the project.

News of the postponement came just a week after Qatar’s government established a ministerial committee to oversee projects of “strategic importance.” The committee was tasked with prioritizing major development initiatives and reviewing costs, among other responsibilities.

Meanwhile, a leading regional project delivery specialist has predicted that the fall in oil prices would encourage alternative funding schemes in Qatar in the coming years.

Dr. Mamoon Alameen, who will speak at the Project Qatar conference next month, recently said he believed the decline in prices would not affect the key infrastructure projects already underway for 2022.

“It may, however, catalyze PPP (public-private partnerships) in many sectors,” he added in a statement.

Thoughts?