A ban on trucks entering central Doha without permission comes into effect today as part of government efforts to ease congestion on the city’s crowded roads.
This latest move by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) follows the opening earlier this month of a dedicated, temporary truck route connecting Mesaieed, the Industrial Area and Lusail that is aimed as keeping heavy vehicles away from the center of the city.
At the opening of this bypass, Brig. Mohammed AbdulRahman Marafia – the MoI’s director of traffic and road safety – said that all trucks would be encouraged to use the new route. Traffic patrols would be deployed to monitor compliance, with those entering the city without permission facing fines of QR500, The Peninsula said.
While it may remove some vehicles from Doha’s roads, thousands of trucks are still needed within the city to transport materials to the many ongoing infrastructure projects such as Doha Metro and the redevelopment of the Msheireb district.
The MoI has begun a multilingual awareness campaign on social media, advising drivers and transport companies about the new route and the rules.
— Ministry of Interior (@MOI_QatarEn) December 6, 2014
However, more than a week later, some haulage firms contacted by Doha News said they were unaware of the new arrangements.
Chaminda Ratnayaka, operations manager for East-West Transport, said his company had around 85 trucks on the roads in Qatar each day, and many of them used routes through central Doha to get to Lusail.
“Every truck has to have permission to go through the city. We need to apply to the Traffic Department for a permit, which is what we do.
“I didn’t know about a new truck route to Lusail. At the moment, our Lusail drivers go through Doha,” he added.
He said there were already restrictions on the hours trucks could travel on the roads in central Doha, and he said his vehicles generally moved between 9am and noon as well as 2:30pm to 5:30pm to avoid peak-period traffic.
The new truck route runs some 41km between the Industrial Area and Lusail, connecting to an existing 23km Salwa-to-Mesaieed road (Route 55) that opened last year. Collectively, the two roadways create a city bypass for vehicles moving between Mesaieed, the Industrial Area and Lusail, according to a statement by Ashghal.
Overtaking in banned on the road, which has two lanes in either direction and a speed limit of 80 km/h, MoI said.
This QR3.26 billion project will create a new expressway running between Al Khor and Mesaieed, which is envisioned to ultimately become a 180-kilometer route connecting the industrial cities of Ras Laffan and Mesaieed that reduces the number of trucks travelling through Doha.
The first phase of the project includes 45 kilometres of the highway located southwest of Doha. It connects the new Doha Port and Al Wakrah bypass with the future phases of the project. It also includes construction of a road linking Mesaieed Road to the east-west corridor.
In January this year, it announced that trucks, trailers and heavy machinery would be banned from parking in central Doha and the suburbs, including Gharaffa, Lusail, Al Rayyan, Mesaimeer and Old Airport.
Instead, large vehicles are being directed to the Al Baraha truck park, which was touted as one of the biggest of its kind in the region when it opened earlier this year with a capacity of 4,200 vehicles.
However, local media reported that uptake at the site had been low, with workers citing a lack of facilities and poor public transport connections. Instead, many continued to use parking areas in the Industrial Area, Qatar Tribune said.