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Sunday, January 16, 2022

New diversions to increase commute time to the Pearl-Qatar and Katara


Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Penn State/Flickr

Motorists traveling to and from Dafna/West Bay and the Pearl/Katara will notice some big traffic changes this week as work continues on Lusail Expressway.

Starting Thursday, the junction connecting Omar Al Mukhtar St. to Lusail St. will be permanently closed, Ashghal has announced.

The move will help the public works authority as it prepares to open a new flyover on the same day.

Ashghal called it the Al Khaleej Al Gharbi flyover, but the junction was previously known as Al Wahda and then West Bay interchange.

It is the same area where iconic arches are being built to replace the “rainbow” that stood at the now-razed roundabout in the same area.

Rendering of Al Wahda arches. Credit: Ashghal

When the flyover opens, three lanes in one direction will facilitate free flow traffic from Lusail to Dafna/West Bay.

But many commuters heading from West Bay toward the Pearl area will need to take a more circuitous route than usual.

What’s changed

Ashghal has advised motorists heading in the following directions to allot extra time for their journeys, especially during peak traffic hours:

  • Commuters heading from University (Al Jamiaa St.) toward Dafna/West Bay and the Pearl will need to continue on Omar Al Mukhtar St., and then follow the signs to make a U-turn that either takes them straight toward West Bay, or left toward the Pearl.
  • Commuters heading from Dafna/West Bay to University St. should continue straight along Lusail St., take the Old Exhibition Center exit and then make a U-turn above Onaiza tunnel. Then continue straight and exit onto the new road to get onto Omar Al Mukhtar St. heading toward University St. (be sure to stay in the far right lane).

Those driving from West Bay/Dafna toward the Pearl will remain unaffected. And motorists going from the Pearl toward Dafna can use the new Onaiza Tunnel and the new flyover.

Notably, the speed limit has been reduced to 50km/hour in that entire area, Ashghal said.

Lusail Expressway update

Work on the QR3.5 billion Lusail Expressway began in 2012. When completed by early 2018, it will link Doha’s business district with the new city of Lusail through an extensive overhaul of the old Al Istiqlal Road.

Last month, the first phase of the expressway opened to traffic.

Opening of Onaiza tunnel on Lusail Expressway. Credit: Doha News

The Onaiza Interchange tunnel bypasses the traffic lights in front of the former Doha Exhibition Center. This has sped up commutes to Katara and the Pearl-Qatar from West Bay.

The new 5.3km route will eventually have four lanes in each direction, with additional turn lanes and three multi-level intersections at the Pearl, Onaiza and Al Wahda.

Will the new diversions affect you? Thoughts?

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