Qatar’s new ambitious Orbital Highway starts opening to traffic

Ashghal

Orbital highway

A new QR3.26 billion expressway in Qatar will partially open to traffic this year, making it easier and faster for residents to travel around the country.

When finished, the 195km Orbital Highway and Truck Route will connect Ras Laffan, Al Khor and Mesaieed.

It will feature 22 major intersections using underpasses and bridges, and circumvent the need to travel through Doha. This will cut down on congestion in the capital as well.

Officials marked the first milestone of the project this week with the opening of 5km of the road between the new Hamad Port and the Truck Route.

This section includes a multi-level interchange with Mesaieed Road, Ashghal said in a statement.

Four lanes in each direction, the highway allows for free-flowing traffic without signals or roundabouts up to the Truck Route.

It can also accommodate the more than 2,500 vehicles that take the route each day, the public works authority added.

Salwa diversion

The entire project was originally slated for a 2017 completion, but Ashghal said last April that only the first lanes would open to traffic by year-end.

This week, the public works authority announced that the Mesaieed Road part of the project will be completed next month.

This will include an extension from the East West Corridor to Dukhan Highway, which goes through Salwa Road.

Ashghal said that it will commence construction on Salwa Road this week.

Ashghal

Salwa Road construction

The work entails converting Interchange No. 24 near the Abu Samra Border into a temporary signalized roundabout.

The goal is ultimately build a free-flowing multi-level junction for the highway project.

Work on the Salwa roundabout will take about 12 months. Though traffic will continue to flow in all directions, expect the speed limit on Salwa to fall gradually from 120km/hour to 50km/hour as you reach the roundabout.

Richard Messenger / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In a statement, Ashghal said this new route will likely only affect trucks traveling on the temporary truck route.

To help with this, truck drivers can take an alternative route from Salwa Road Interchange No. 17 to the Doha West Sewage Treatment Plan and the Temporary Truck Route.

Motorists are asked to follow all road signs and abide by the lowered speed limits in the area.

A few more openings

Meanwhile, by July, Ashghal said it aims to open the Orbital Highway to traffic from Dukhan Highway to Al Gharafa Road.

Other partial openings include:

  • The section between Mesaieed Road and the East West Corridor;
  • The road linking the northern entrance of Hamad Port and the Industrial Area;
  • The area between Dukhan Highway and Al Mazrooah Road; and
  • The phase from Dukhan Highway to the West of Al Shamal Road, near Al Khor City.

Will this highway help your commute? Thoughts?

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