Browsing 'qrail' News

Lesley Walker

Construction is coming to another busy Doha road this month, as Qatar Rail advances on plans to roll out a new Al Sadd St. metro station.

Shopkeepers and restauranteurs said they have received notices from the rail company that they will be closing different sections of Al Sadd over the next three years, starting Oct. 15.

Many have expressed dismay about the plans, saying the works would cost them a number of customers and millions of riyals in business.

Al sadd/saad - QR letter 2 new

The construction will mean the removal of the service road and parking adjacent to a section of shops and restaurants at the western end of Al Saad St., near the junction with Jawan Street.

While some work in the area is already underway and hoardings have already been erected near the road, the latest closures have yet to take effect.

Under the plans, the hoardings would be moved to stand just over one meter from the shop fronts, making it impossible for vehicles to park in the area, or even drive up to drop off customers. A short passage will remain for pedestrians to access the stores.

According to the details of the Qatar Rail letter, the program of construction for the station was due to begin on Oct. 10, with deep excavation works in the area scheduled to start on May 7, 2015.

Metro plans

Al Saad station will be one of 11 stations on Doha Metro’s Gold Line, which will run West-East from Villaggio mall, under Al Waab street, along Al Saad street and eventually through to the northern end of the former Doha airport’s runway.

Doha Metro Phase 1 - Gold Line

In April, a consortium led by Greek-based Aktor won a $4.4 billion contract for the line’s design and build, with a completion date set for August 2018.

Other lines that would cover the 37 stations open to passenger traffic by 2019 include Hamad International Airport, the Msheireb Downtown Doha project, Education City, West Bay and Lusail, where passengers can transfer to light-rail vehicles that will connect up to Al Khor.

Loss of business

Once one of the busiest commercial streets in the city, Al Sadd St. is home to many decades-old shops and eateries that are regarded by many residents as Doha institutions.

One of them is Al Khaima Arabic restaurant, which has been operating in the same location for nearly 30 years.

Lesley Walker

Speaking to Doha News yesterday, the general manager, who asked not to be named, said he feared for the future of the eatery:

“We are a very popular restaurant – we have nearly 1,100 customers a day, on average, and lots of regulars who have known us for years.

But when these works start, there will be no parking, nowhere for people even to be dropped off. It will be like a highway outside our door. How can our customers get to us – by parachute or helicopter, and land on the roof?”

The manager estimated that the upcoming diversions would cost him up to QR4 million a year in lost business, particularly from customers who used the take-away service.

When asked how he felt about the construction, he added:

“I am very sad, not only for my business or income but for my customers. I hope some will still come to us, although they will have to park very far away and walk. But some will not come back – they will go to other restaurants that are easier to get to.

We will have to adapt. Maybe we will do more deliveries, maybe we will try to open another branch, although that is very expensive.”

Further down the street, Al Khan Textile tailors has also been operating for nearly 30 years.

Speaking to Doha News about the upcoming diversions, Manager Abdul Rashid said:

“If this street really does get closed like they say, then this will be a big problem for us. How will my customers get to me?

“We have been here a long time – we are a famous shop in Doha and we have many VIP customers. They will not want to park and walk in the dust to reach here.”

Also yesterday, the owner of a menswear store who asked not to be named said he was conferring with shop keepers in the area to discuss a way forward that would enable the businesses in the street to keep operating.

“We are taking some steps. Maybe we can reach a compromise, although I am not totally hopeful,” he told Doha News.

C-Ring works

The latest planned works are yet another blow to businesses in the surrounding area, many of which are already struggling as Ashghal continues its overhaul of C-Ring Road.

Aric DiLalla

The public works authority has taken steps to mitigate the impact on businesses on the stretch of C-ring between Radisson Blu (Ramada) signal and Al Mana Towers by providing temporary parking and pedestrian walkways.

But business owners told Doha News that the construction on the busy road had put off many of their customers, with footfall down to just a couple of customers on a Thursday afternoon for one Arabic sweet shop by Al Mana Towers.

Thoughts?

All photos courtesy of UNStudio

After being appointed principal architect by Qatar Rail, Dutch company UNStudio has published its designs for the new Doha Metro.

The metro is one of three public transportation projects that Qatar is working on to help reduce the nation’s growing road congestion. It will enter operations in 2019 with four lines and some 37 stations.

The renderings were shared this week, and will apply to the first phase of the metro when it opens in four years, as well as the second phase, when the transport system is extended to 56 stations by 2026.

In a statement, UNStudio said:

“UNStudio’s design forms a bridge between the past and the future of Qatar, drawing inspiration from the vast regional architectural lexicon, whilst simultaneously representing an effective vision of modernisation and preservation.

The design further aims to incorporate and integrate all functional and technical aspects of the network and stations into a coherent architectural expression.”

Background

Previously, Qatar Rail said the first phase of the Doha Metro would be completed in 2017, and be in the testing phase for two years before opening to passenger traffic in 2019.

Qatar Rail

By this time, some 10 stations are expected to be completed for the Red Line North (which links Msheireb to the Doha Golf Course via West Bay) and eight stations for the Red Line South (which links Msheireb to Hamad International Airport).

Some 11 stations on the Gold Line and 10 stations on the Green Line are also expected to be open by 2019.

Some 21 boring machines will be used to dig tunnels for the metro, which is mostly underground. When the first machines arrived, Qatar Rail said digging would begin in August.

However, the company has not responded to recent inquiries from Doha News about the process.

Other projects

Qatar is also making progress on a Lusail light-rail transit system, which consists of 37 stations along a 30.5km track and is expected to be operational by 2017.

This is a separate project from the Doha Metro, but passengers would be able to transfer between the two lines at the Lusail Marina/Pearl station.

A passenger and freight rail network is also in the works, but isn’t expected to be completed until 2029.

What do you think of the new designs? Thoughts?

Doha Metro rendering

Qatar Rail

Global engineering consultancy Atkins has won a $135 million contract to lead the design of the Doha Metro’s Gold Line, the company has announced.

The work is expected to be conducted over the next four years on the first phase of the east-west line, which will run from Villaggio Mall to past the Doha International Airport.

In a statement updating the London Stock Exchange on its financial performance, Atkins said:

“We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded the role of lead designer for the Doha Metro Gold Line in Qatar. Atkins has been appointed by the consortium of contractors which is delivering the Gold Line on behalf of Qatar Railways Company, comprising Greek contractor Aktor, Yapi Merkezi and STFA from Turkey, India’s Larsen & Toubro and the local Qatari company Al Jabber Engineering.”

The Greek-led consortium was awarded a $4.4 billion contract to build and design Doha’s Gold Line in April.

Aktor has been tasked with boring some 32km of tunnel with six boring machines; constructing 13 underground stations and setting up traffic diversions, among other things, with an estimated completion date by August 2018.

Previously, Qatar Rail had said the first phase of the Doha Metro would be completed in 2017, and be in the testing phase for two years before opening to passenger traffic in 2019.

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By this time, some 10 stations are expected to be completed for the Red Line North (which links Msheireb to the Doha Golf Course via West Bay) and eight stations for the Red Line South (which links Msheireb to Hamad International Airport).

Some 11 stations on the Gold Line and 10 stations on the Green Line are also expected to be open by 2019.

The Gold Line runs east-west, starting at Villaggio mall and running beneath Al Waab St. It then follows the road’s northward bend at the Doha Expressway before turning east again at Al Sadd Street.

It curves to cross C-Ring slightly north of Al Sadd Street before veering southeast, cutting through residential areas of Fereej bin Mahmoud and then following Qatari bin Al Fujaah Street and Al Adhwaa Street into the Msheireb station.

From there, it runs below Wadi Msheireb Street/Ali bin Abdullah Street before curving south to follow Ras Abu Abboud Street past the northern end of Doha International Airport’s runway.

Thoughts?