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Sunday, September 19, 2021

CMC: Qatar construction sites need to be safer

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Officials in Qatar should do more to ensure that road diversions and excavation sites around the country are safe for the public, members of the Central Municipal Council have said.

As the nation goes through a construction boom in preparation for the 2022 World Cup, safety regulations are being flouted due to lack of enforcement, said CMC Vice-Chairman Hamad bin Lahdan Al-Mohannadi.

Raising the issue at a regular meeting this week, he gave the example of the plastic barriers surrounding excavation sites or guiding road diversions.

Construction outside City Center.
Construction outside City Center.

According to Al-Mohannadi, though the barriers are supposed to filled with water or sand, they often sit empty, causing them to blow away and thus failing to protect people and vehicles that rely on them.

In other cases, construction crews close off the roads by themselves, which poses an even higher risk to them and others.

He added that he has seen safety regulations followed in the beginning of the implementation of a road diversion, but this tends to become lax after a couple of weeks.

Rawdat Rashid

To tackle the problem, officials must conduct regular inspections and monitor these sites, Al-Mohannadi said.

For his part, CMC member Mohammad Zafer Al Hajri cited the perils of driving on certain roads in the dark, and called for regular evening inspections on road diversions at night.

As an example, he cited Rawdat Rashid Road, which is commonly referred to as “the road of death” for its poor lighting and dangerous curves.

The road is being expanded to run three lanes in each direction.

Rendering of Rawdat Rashid Road redevelopment
Rendering of Rawdat Rashid Road redevelopment

Though the construction will ideally make the area safer for drivers, Al Hajri said that currently, the lights calling attention to the diversions are blurred and can barely be seen at night.

Al Hajri also referred to a recent fatal accident that took place over the weekend in neighboring Saudi Arabia, in which a young man in his 20s fell into a ditch that was 35m deep.

According to media reports, his body was found after a six-hour long search. Al Hajri pointed out that Qatar should work to avoid these kinds of tragedies.

The ditch was part of a sewage project east of Jeddah.

Trenches like the one the man fell into are commonly dug on construction sites to hold underground electrical wires or water and sewer pipes that would be connected to surrounding buildings.

CMC members called for unifying, improving, enforcing and monitoring safety standards executed by contractors. The proposal was referred to the public services and utilities committee for further discussion and recommendations.

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