Transportation in Doha
The city of Doha in Qatar has recently been undergoing a huge expansion to its transportation network, including the addition of new highways, the construction of a new airport, and the planned construction of a metro system. This has all been as a result of Doha's rapid growth, which has resulted in huge congestion on its roads.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
Doha has a comprehensive road network made up primarily of two and three-lane dual carriageways. As a result of Doha being a relatively young city, Doha's roads are wide and usually include service roads and large central dividers. While traditionally roundabouts have been used as intersections in the city, this has recently changed as a result of the huge load on the city's road networks. Many major roundabouts have been removed and instead either replaced with traffic lights or with underpasses and overpasses. Furthermore, many major thoroughfares in the city are being converted into highways in order to accommodate the huge increase of traffic on the city's roads.
There are five main highways connecting Doha to its neighboring cities. These are the Dukhan highway to the west of the city, the Al-Shamal Road, connecting Doha to the north of the country, the Al‑Khor Expressway, connecting Doha to the northern town of Al‑Khor, and the Wakrah/Messaid Road, connecting Doha to the south of the country. Finally, Salwa Road runs through south Doha and connects the city to the Saudi border to the south of the country.
These highways are all currently undergoing expansion, and are being expanded within Doha itself.
Doha Expressway (D‑Ring Road/Al Shamal Road)
The Al Shamal-Road has traditionally connected to the D‑Ring Road in Doha, a three-lane dual carriageway that connects the city on a north-south axis. However, as a result of congestion, the D‑Ring Road is being converted into a major highway through the city, and its name has been changed to the Doha Expressway, connecting Doha as a whole and connecting Doha with the north of Qatar. Several phases of the expressway have been completed, including the Al Shamal Bridge, the Landmark Interchange, the Gharaffa Interchange, and the Midmac/Salwa Road Interchange.
The Al Shamal Road is also undergoing significant expansion as part of the Doha Expressway project. The road is being expanded into a four-lane highway (a total of eight lanes) with major interchanges which will better serve the country than the existing two-lane dual carriageway. Furthermore, the new Doha Expressway will connect Doha with the planned Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge at al‑Zubara, connecting the two Persian Gulf states in a similar manner Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are currently connected.
The Lusail expressway is expected to connect the new city of Lusail, currently being constructed north of Doha, to central Doha, along with connecting the Pearl to the mainland. The expressway is expected to take the path along the former Istiqlal Road, now Lusail Street, and will be a 4‑lane dual carriageway passing through the city. The expressway will extend from Lusail City, through Rainbow roundabout, the Qatar Sports Club roundabout, and the fire department roundabout.
The existing Dukhan highway has been undergoing a reconstruction project for several years, with new interchanges having been constructed and the road being significantly expanded. In the future, it is planned to expand the highway so that it connects directly into Doha through a system of underpasses and overpasses, with plans to replace the Tilted Roundabout, the Markhiya Roundabout, and the TV Roundabout, all major roundabouts in Doha, with underpasses and overpasses.
The Salwa Highway project's first phase has been completed. This phase involved the expansion of the highway, which connects Doha to the southwestern town of Salwa on the Saudi Arabian border, into a four-lane highway with grade separated interchanges. The rest of Salwa Road is expected to be expanded and upgraded, from the recently completed Industrial Interchange to the Jaidah flyover, including the construction of an underpass at the Ramada signals, Doha's busiest traffic light intersection. This project is not expected to commence until after the completion of the Doha Expressway.
The F‑Ring Road will be the sixth ring road in Doha, and is being constructed as part of the transportation network leading to the New Doha International Airport. The new highway will connect the airport to the corniche at the new Ras Abu Aboud interchange, currently under construction, and will involve a new ring road south of the E‑Ring Road.
The Mowasalat company operates all taxis in Qatar under its Karwa brand, with thousands of taxis operating in the capital. There are many taxi stands in the city, and while in the past difficulties arose in finding taxis due to the small number of taxis on the roads following the launch of the company, today this has become less of an issue.
Fares start at 10 riyals and the majority of taxis are well-equipped, comfortable sedans such as the Toyota Camry or the Ford Mondeo. Airport taxis at the Doha International Airport are generally Ford Freestars.
An extensive bus system, operated by the government-owned Mowasalat company, currently operates in the city of Doha. The bus system covers many areas of the city, and there are stops throughout the city. The bus system is mainly used by lower-income groups, and does not attract many from the higher-income groups in the city, which has resulted in increased congestion on the roads of Doha, as most people prefer cars.
A four-line, 300 km metro for Doha is under construction. Construction work on the Msheireb station—planned as the hub between—October 10, 2012, to mark the start of work on the key interchange station at Msheireb, which will form the hub of the Doha metro network. The system will include commuter lines, four light rail lines, and a people mover. In August Qatar Rail signed five contracts totaling 1.48 billion riyals for work on the first phase of the metro, which covers 129 route-kilometers including the Red, Green, and Gold lines. The contracts were awarded to Porr/Saudi Binladin/HBK Contracting (enabling works), Jacobs Engineering (Red Line), Louis Berger/Egis Group (Gold Line and main stations), Hill International (Green Line), and Lloyd's Register (safety assessment). According to the CEO of Qatar Rail, Phase 1 is due to open in the fourth quarter of 2019, well ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
West Bay tramway
Lusail light rail transit
The city of Lusail, which is located approximately 15 km north of Doha's city center, is getting a light rail transit system comprising 36 stations over 38.8 kilometers. It will connect to the Doha metro. It is expected to cost 10 billion riyals and will be completed in 2016.
The Gulf Railway is a proposed railway project that would connect the six Arab member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates—of the Persian Gulf. The regional network would be 1,940 kilometers long. It is aimed to be operational by 2017. A monorail system is expected to be the first to open, and will carry passengers between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. According to initial planning documents, the metro lines will be mostly underground, which could be a challenge for engineers due to the high water table.
Doha International Airport is Qatar's only international airport. It is the hub of Qatar Airways, and is served by many other international airlines. Because of the rapid growth in Qatar and the rapid growth of Qatar Airways, many now consider the airport too small and unable to properly handle all of the traffic that goes through the airport. This problem was recently addressed with a large expansion that was made in anticipation of the 15th Asian Games. In order to accommodate increased traffic, the airport's facilities was expanded significantly, including the construction of a separate terminal dedicated to first- and business-class passengers, and expansion of the current terminal. Furthermore, new stands have been constructed on the opposite side of the runway to handle additional air traffic. These changes have temporarily eased the problem, but because of the airport's small size and limited space for expansion, this has not been enough to permanently solve the problem of the airport crowding.
A new airport, the Hamad International Airport, is being constructed near the existing airport (about 3 miles east), and should solve the problems the current airport has. The first phase of the airport, to be completed in late 2013, along with the second phase will be able to accommodate 25 million passengers annually. Upon completion of the third phase, the airport is expected to be able to handle up to 50 million passengers annually. The new airport is located further away from the central areas of the city than the current airport, reducing noise and environmental pollution. The total cost of the new airport is $22 billion.
In comparison with other major airports around the world, it will be one of the largest in the world:
- Charles de Gaulle Airport - 3,254 hectares
- Hamad International Airport - 2,200 hectares
- Hong Kong International Airport - 1,225 hectares
- London Heathrow Airport - 1,210 hectares
- Narita International Airport – 1,065 hectares
- "Qatar Breaks Ground on Doha Metro". Railway Gazette. 12 October 2012.
- "Qatar Foundation to get turnkey tram system from Siemens" (Press release). Berlin: Siemens AG, Infrastructure & Cities Sector. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- Sambidge, Andy (17 September 2012). "QRail Set to Award Tenders for Doha Metro". Arabian Business.
- AirguideOnline.com: Global Perspectives - Qatar's New Doha International Airport
- New Doha International Airport presents credentials at leading industry forum, AME Info, 2006-09-26
- Information on the New Doha International Airport