Ashghal opens new tunnel on Lusail Expressway to ease traffic flow to Katara

Doha: Ashghal has opened a new 750-metre long tunnel at Al Gassar Interchange on Lusail Expressway. The new tunnel will provide free flow traffic from Lusail and the Pearl towards Katara Cultural Village and the surrounding hotels and facilities since the passage makes a direct connection between Lusail Expressway and Al Khafji Street extension.

The tunnel incorporates two one-way lanes to accommodate more than 3500 vehicles per hour along with a hard shoulder to prevent any traffic disruptions inside the underground passage.

The opening was attended by Ashghal Highway Department Manager Youssef Al Emadi, Katara General Manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, Central Municipal Council member Jassim Al Malki along with a number of Ashghal officials and project engineers

Lusail Expressway was opened to traffic in December 2017 to enhance traffic mobility in the areas around as the new road led to the reduction of journey time by over 70 percent.

Huge overhaul and expansions happened to previous road, which involved two lanes in each direction to cater for around 3,500 vehicles per hour but the road capacity doubled to approximately 8,000 vehicles per hour after increasing the number of lanes to four tracks in each direction and up to six and eight lanes in some sections of the new highway. Five roundabouts also were converted into three multi-level interchanges to provide free flow traffic in all directions.

On this occasion, Abdullah Qassim, project engineer, said that the new tunnel is part of the four-level Al Gassar Interchange which consists of 5 tunnels and a flyover, linking traffic between Lusail Expressway and Al Khafji Street.

Continuing the achievements made by Ashghal on Lusail Expressway, he pointed out that the new tunnel would reduce transit time as the motorists coming from Lusail towards Katara and nearby hotels will have a direct access now and will no longer use any diversions.

“Before opening the underground passage, road users, travelling from the Pearl, Legtaifiya, for instance, to Katara and the hotels around, should have turned right at Al Gassar Interchange onto Al Khafji Street to Qatar University Street then do a U-Turn or continued their drive to 5/6 Interchange then take a U-Turn,” he added.

“The murals that Katara Tunnel is characterised by, are one of the architectural and artistic elements inspired by the Qatari pearl diving marine heritage. These patterns, which are derived from the fisherman’s net with its blue colour, suggest that they are ripples of a diver under the water, and at the end of the tunnel the ripples fade away in the horizon. The lighting poles were also chosen in a new way to add an aesthetic dimension in line with the overall design,” he said.

Lusail Expressway is one of the key projects of the Expressway Programme that the Public Works Authority is implementing. It is located in a vital area that connects Doha with Lusail City, and covers many public destinations such as the Pearl in the north, via Katara and the Diplomatic Area, and a big number of residential areas, hotels, malls and other facilities.

The project work area stretches over 5.5 kilometre from Lusail City in the north to the West Bay area in the south. The project works include three main multi-level interchanges, which are the Pearl Interchange, Al Gassar Interchange, and 5/6 Interchange, in addition to two marine bridges over the South and North Canal Crossings near the Pearl and Lusail City.

The design also focuses on enhancing traffic safety for pedestrians and providing healthy lifestyle, through building a total of 13 kilometres of pedestrians and cyclists paths, in addition to a big number of feeder service roads to connect the different destinations with the expressway.

“Travelling daily on the Lusail Expressway is now a pleasant free flow journey with efficient  connectivity to several key areas such as Katara, The Pearl and Al Dafna and local roads such us Omar Al Mukhtar Street. I would like to thank the Public Works Authority for their efforts in upgrading the road infrastructure across the state of Qatar,” Aisha Khalifa Al-Hajri, a commuter, said.

5/6 Interchange:

One of the most prominent architectural monuments in Doha, the arches of Interchange 5/6, which was launched on 16 December 2017 – a Qatari monument standing tall and with its height representing an icon of creativity and engineering achievements.
The arches at Interchange 5/6 are the biggest and tallest monument in Qatar with a height of 100 metres and width of 147 metres, and weighing more than 9300 tons of steel.

Lusail Expressway implementation journey:
The vast excavation and execution works of the multi-level tunnels and bridges in the project, as well as the construction of two marine bridges, was completely executed without interrupting traffic. This is in addition to the excavation works that took place at a depth of 30 metres below ground surface along six kilometres, for integrated infrastructure to allow for electricity and drainage networks, and to allow for maintenance works without the need for more excavations in the future. In addition to building an underground metro tunnel which will cross under the marine bridge.

Meanwhile, some road users expressed their happiness about the accomplishment of Lusail Expressway, stressing that the new road has largely created better traffic, especially that it connects many key areas and business, touristic and entertaining facilities.

“I live in the Al Wahda area close to the Arches and I use Lusail Expressway on a daily basis. In terms of travel time, road users used to face up to one hour of traffic in the past which required police presence to help facilitate the movement of vehicles. Now, with an increased number of lanes, the travel time has significantly reduced and I can reach The Pearl area within five or so minutes,” Saied Saied Al Nuaimi said.
Another commuter, Abdulaziz Fahd Al Khulaifi, said: “I am a daily commuter on the Lusail Expressway as I live in the Al Wahda area and work in Al Dafna. The newly opened road’s layout with its free flow tunnels and increased lane capacity has significantly improved traffic flow. Achieving such an accomplishment despite a regional blockade is a symbol of national pride.”

Source: The Peninsula Qatar