Qatar’s iconic clock tower, which for years stood as the defacto gateway to Doha International Airport and was removed recently due to ongoing construction, will be soon be housed a new location, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has announced.
The tower was a key landmark on the city’s roads, but was taken down from Umm Ghuwailina (VIP) Roundabout as part of the first phase of a year-long overhaul of C-Ring Road.
The junction, which is being converted into a signalized intersection, is scheduled to open this fall, an Ashghal spokeswoman told Doha News.
However, some local businesses have been advised that the junction and surrounding area could be finished as early as August.
For many residents, the clock tower served as a memory of their arrival to Qatar. Since its removal last month, some have been paying tribute to the icon on Twitter.
— AJ (@designst3in) June 27, 2014
In a statement, Ashghal confirmed that the tower had been carefully dismantled by experts and would be reinstated elsewhere in Doha.
However, the authority said it could not provide further details about where the tower would end up, or when it would be available for public viewing again. An Ashghal spokeswoman told Doha News:
“The tower is being stored with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP).
It will be reinstalled later at a location that will be chosen in coordination with the concerned authorities but we don’t yet have details on when this will be or where it could be.”
The fate of another Doha roundabout landmark – the oryx statue that stood behind the General Post Office in West Bay – also remains to be seen.
That roundabout was demolished last summer as Ashghal converted a number of roundabouts on the Corniche and approaching roads to junctions with traffic lights.
At the time, the authority said the statue had been “safely removed” and handed over to the MMUP.
C-Ring Road overhaul
The first phase of work on C-Ring Road, one of the busiest roads in Doha, started in May and focuses on the stretch from VIP roundabout to halfway between Toyota and Gulf Cinema signals.
Over the next few months, the number of lanes will be increased from three to four in each direction, and Ashghal will create more U-turns, as well as install pedestrian crossings.
Additionally, traffic lights connected to Ashghal’s new Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) are expected to be erected at the VIP intersection in an attempt to ease the flow of traffic in the area.
In all, 6.3km of the road up to Jabur bin Ahmed intersection (Ramada/Radisson Blu signal) will be overhauled by next year in a bid to reduce heavy congestion.
Phase two will involve the road from Al Mansoora (Gulf Cinema signal) to halfway past Rawdat AlKhail (Holiday Villa signal), while the last stretch will see works from New Salata (near the former Al Andalus Petrol station) to Jabur bin Ahmed (Ramada signal) by the beginning of 2015.
Once a dominant feature of Doha’s road infrastructure, roundabouts in the city are gradually being removed as the number of vehicles increases, congestion builds and more and more accidents occur.
Dahl al Hamman and Markhiya (Burger King) roundabouts are currently being redeveloped as junctions. Lane restrictions are due to be finished later this month, but work in the area is scheduled to continue until October.
And Arch (Rainbow) roundabout was removed in October last year to make way for the Lusail expressway. More junctions are expected to face the same fate as Qatar’s infrastructure is remodeled to cope with around 100,000 new cars that are added to the roads each year.