All photos by Peter Kovessy
A heavily traversed road in Bin Mahmoud reopened to traffic this afternoon after construction crews worked around the clock for the past two weeks to add a lane in both directions.
The work includes removing on-street parking and re-paving the road on Qatari Bin Al Fujaah Street – known colloquially as “Garage Street” for the dozens of mechanics that used to line the road – where it crosses C-Ring Road at La Cigale Hotel and Toys “R” Us.
A new concrete median – which runs approximately 150m from the intersection to the busy Ferrari Car Wash – will eventually feature streetlights and should discourage drivers from entering the oncoming traffic lanes to race ahead of stopped traffic, which frequently occurred before construction started earlier this month.
For many shopkeepers and customers, the biggest change, however, appears to be the loss of parking. Many of the mechanics closest to La Cigale previously had ample room in front of their shops to work of vehicles. Some of that space has been taken up by the wider road.
Closer to C-Ring Road, a small service road for several shops that was commonly used by drivers turning right onto the arterial street to avoid waiting for a red light to change has been turned into a protected right-hand turn lane.
That means the loss of parking and customer waiting areas for several small shops. This afternoon, several drivers could be observed stopping outside Metro Manila Food Centre and honking their horns to beckon a store employee to take their order.
One customer who had stopped ended up leaving before he could complete his transaction, apparently realizing he was now blocking traffic after several drivers behind him leaned on their horns.
An employee of Metro Manila told Doha News that he doesn’t know where his customers or delivery trucks will now park.
However, other shopkeepers appeared happy to see the road reopened.
An employee of another food and convenience store, Family Corner, said sales dropped 20 percent during construction.
“It looks very good,” he said, surveying the freshly resurfaced road.
On the opposite side of the road from the retail shops and car wash, on-street parking has been removed to make way for what will eventually be a wider sidewalk.
A construction supervisor told Doha News that the interlock stones that currently make up the pedestrian walkways will be replaced with larger granite slabs.
He added that with Garage Street re-opened, construction crews are turning their attention to the ongoing work on Salwa Road east of C-Ring Road, toward Msheireb.
Work will soon begin on converting Center Roundabout, near the plaza that includes MegaMart and the under construction Westin Hotel, to a signalized intersection.
Ashghal previously stated that phase four of the C-Ring project would be completed by the end of December – earlier than its original mid-January timetable.