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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Official: Qatar expressway seeing fewer crashes with new speed limit

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New 80km/hour speed limit on expressway.
New 80km/hour speed limit on expressway.

The Doha Expressway has seen improved traffic flow and no major accidents since the speed limit there was reduced in January, a senior traffic official has said.

Motorists were caught off-guard two months ago when signage on the stretch of the busy highway between the interchange with Salwa Road and Duhail changed overnight to reflect that the maximum speed limit was cut from 100km/h to 80km/h.

Speaking to local media yesterday, Brig. Mohammed Saad Al Kharji, director of the Traffic Department, called the reduced limit a “temporary” measure to make it easier and safer for vehicles to join the main flow of traffic on the expressway from adjoining slip roads and service roads.

He continued, as quoted by Qatar Tribune:

“Many of the entrances and exits on the road have a speed limit of 80 kph. The resulting inconvenience and congestion on those parts of February 22nd Street (the Expressway) prompted the Traffic Department to reduce the speed limit on the main road to match those at the entrances and exits on a temporary basis.”

A Qatar-based traffic consultant told Doha News that another one of the benefits of a slower speed limit was that drivers could safely leave less distance between them and other vehicles.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Driving at higher speeds means leaving more of a gap, but this can encourage some drivers to cut into that empty space, he explained. This prompts drivers to suddenly slow down, which causes a domino effect in heavy traffic that can lead to multiple accidents.

According to Al Kharji, the 100 km/h limit could be reinstated once major construction work to Al Rayyan Road is completed.

However, the second phase of that project is not expected to be finished until the fall of 2017, according to Ashghal – which means motorists may yet face another 2.5 years of slower speeds on the expressway.

Highway woes

The expressway, which opened to traffic in 2010 as a fast north-south route through Doha, has become one the city’s busiest roads.

In morning and evening rush hours in particular, vehicles typically move at a slow crawl, rarely reaching speeds of more than 20 km/h. Often times, frustrated drivers can be seen using the emergency lane to bypass traffic, or cutting in to queued-up exit routes at the last minute, in a bid to save time.

As a result, the road has been the site of a number of serious and minor accidents in recent years.

Accident
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Overall, the number of traffic accidents on Qatar’s roads has increased significantly in the past two decades.

According to research by Qatar University’s Qatar Road Safety Studies Center (QRSCC) published earlier this year, road accidents rose by 560 percent in the period between 1996 and 2013. This outstrips the population increases, which grew at about 330 percent over the same period.

The study found that Sunday and Monday evenings, from 6pm until 9pm, were when the highest number of fatalities happened.

Young men aged 20 to 30 years old were most likely to be killed on the roads, as they accounted for a staggering 90 percent of all mortalities, it added.

Surrounding works

Public works authority Ashghal is in the midst of an ambitious overhaul of Qatar’s roads as part of its national expressway program, which aims to upgrade key routes through the state to meet the needs of the growing population and prepare for the 2022 World Cup.

A rendering of Al Rayyan Road with Al Amir St.
A rendering of Al Rayyan Road with Al Amir St.

The reconstruction of 8.2km of Al Rayyan Road, in two phases, is part of this plan. Work started in summer last year to upgrade a 2.9km stretch of the route from west of Khalid bin Abdullah al-Attiyah roundabout (New Rayyan roundabout) to the east of Bani Hajer roundabout, servicing areas around Education City.

Estimated to be complete by the end of next year, it will create an eight-lane expressway, with four lanes in each direction, and 2km of peripheral roads to be constructed or upgraded.

The second phase, which is not due to be finished until Fall 2017, includes a 5.3km stretch from west of Sports roundabout to west of Khalid Bin Abdullah Al-Attiyah roundabout (New Rayyan roundabout).

It will also create an eight-lane expressway (four lanes in each direction), in addition to upgrading 5.4km of side and service roads, and the construction of six new intersections.

Thoughts?

32 COMMENTS

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SullyofDoha
SullyofDoha
6 years ago

I wonder if ‘leaving a space’ in front is even taught at the driving schools in this country. Every time I leave a gap, it is filled right away.

Duh
Duh
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

You’re right. Many people are clueless.

DarkQTR
DarkQTR
6 years ago
Reply to  Duh

They are not clueless. Many drivers are aware that they shouldn’t do that but they do it anyway. Since everyone else is doing it so why not!. Also, driving schools are preparing you for how you “should” be driving, hoping for people to implement traffic rules. Thus, the effect will be like adding a table spoon of salt to massive water tank!

blohot
blohot
6 years ago
Reply to  DarkQTR

My driving instructor’s idea of training was to make quick pit stops at supermarkets to stock up on his grocery. It’s a good thing that I was already driving for 15 years in my home country.

DarkQTR
DarkQTR
6 years ago
Reply to  blohot

IMO, That’s why cars should be monitored and provided with a credible assessments from the trainee ( not heavily though). In my days, they used to be flexible with people. I recently heard the instructors are not easy going as they used to be.. but idk.

Anyways, driving schools are not enough without a good integration from MOI regarding law enforcements

Abdulla
Abdulla
6 years ago
Reply to  DarkQTR

Your argument is invalid. You’re saying that everyone should drive carelessly simply because everyone else does it? That’s like saying “Hey, one jumped off a cliff, let us all do the same”. It’s all a matter of education and discipline. Simply put, a lot of the LC drives (that means Qataris) are simply not educated enough to respect the rules on the road. The head of Traffic Department just needs to implement more strict rules.

DarkQTR
DarkQTR
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulla

“You’re saying that everyone should drive carelessly”
No, I didn’t say that or even implied to it. In other words, what I’m saying is that many people are aware that they are breaking laws. This is because other people are doing so without consequences and because of MOI law enforcements as I mentioned in my previous comment.

Alright, if you are claiming that Qataris are not respecting the laws because they aren’t “educated enough”. I don’t think that this is the case actually. In fact, many Qatari who live abroad or even go for tourism in Europe aren’t behaving the same way on roads as they do in their local country. Not just because they are afraid of the law enforcements or anything. It’s because the society in well developed countries is enforcing itself. IMO, even if you are well educated, as long as you don’t have values which prevent you from doing wrongful acts, then you can expect anything.

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulla

Deleted for stereotyping.

Catalea
Catalea
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

They actually are, I got my driving licence here, and I respect every rule on the roads.
The issue isn’t about what you teach, but about what they do with what they learned.
Unfortunately, it’s all a matter of education and disipline, regardless of how good the driving school can be, at the end of the day, if you don’t want to respect the speed limit or whatever, it’s on you…
the only way to solve this problem is by installing stricted traffic regulations…

Cybernetttic
Cybernetttic
6 years ago
Reply to  SullyofDoha

I think if the gap is reasonable with the speed of the vehicles, then no one can attempt to fill the gap. However, some drivers may feel that the gap is unnecessary during long queues and crawling traffic. During such times, drivers will obviously look to occupy even inches of space. Furthermore, if a driver is not maintaining appropriate space between his car and the one in the front, then another driver will be tempted to fill up that gap.

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago

I hope that D-Ring cost someone a job. To think that an expressway (“rolling parking lot”) going through the city would only be 3 lanes wide is a joke. The clueless people who planned this road obviously failed to look at Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai which is 7 or 8 lanes wide and realize that they’ll never keep up with the number of cars on the road. A speed limit of 80 doesn’t matter when during rush hours you can’t drive faster than 15kph and during off-peak hours it’s only a speed limit of 80kph when near a speed camera.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  truth.e.ness

It was never an expressway, – it used to be another arterial road punctuated by roundabouts (who can forget smelly roundabout!). These junctions were then replaced with signals and the 3 level interchanges, but it was still simply an arterial road.

I get the feeling someone decided to start calling it an expressway because that sounded better, with the belief that if you call it an expressway, it would become an expressway.

Thankfully Ashghal has now adopted the “Qatar deserves the best” approach to their roads, which is as close as possible to admitting that the roads currently in Qatar are not the best at all, and a massive infrastructure improvement program is needed to address these problems. Fingers crossed that Ashghal will indeed deliver roads that meet the expectations of well traveled Qataris who have trouble understanding why there are better roads in regional Thailand, as an example, than their home country.

Catalea
Catalea
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Exactly what I was going to say.
The thing is, when they opened this “expressway” Qatar Population was less than 800.000, back in 2008, so when we used it, to go from Salwa to Landmark area for example, it would take us 10 mins !
The issue here is clearly a lack of planning, to which, thankfully, they are finding a solution to. By 2020, things will be much, much better, fingers crossed.. Doha is dubai, whth a bit of delay and had to face some bumpy roads so to speak ! I’m sure Dubai wasn’t all great and shinny & awesome during the transition phase…let’s look at this the positive way and with Qatar who does indeed deserve the best.

Curiosity Killed the Cat
Curiosity Killed the Cat
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Agreed, it’s not an expressway in any way. In OZ and NZ it would not qualify as there are far too many exits and entrances within a certain distance limit. Look at the crazy section near Salwa, there’s both within 100m! Reading the comments I amazed how people are just moaning “oh it’s slow for me to get to work now”….. Umm … there’s fewer accidents of your fellow motorists, fewer injuries, maybe fewer deaths, maybe you won’t be a victim in a terrible accident, fewer insurance claims….. But as long as you can get to work quicker right, that should be the priority of Qatar policing and public works… you getting to work on time vs surviving the journey to work.

Nuremburg
Nuremburg
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

To be fair, I don’t think there are better roads in regional Thailand. The roads are terrible here, but I’ve experienced far worse road systems in developed countries (in the Appalachia region in the USA, for example).

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

FACT: The 80kph limit has improved traffic flow and reduced major accidents since it was introduced. So who would like to see this ‘temporary’ limit become permanent?

Pete
Pete
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Can’t see any reason for it not to be permanent in spite of what the Brigadier said. I can’t really understand the nonsense about joining roads. If speed limits on those are increased to match the expressway how will that prevent accidents on the expressway. But hey…I’m trying to be logical. How silly of me.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Logically an exit should never be after an entrance. While those entering are accelerating those who exit are slowing down. It’s bound to create a chaos. They call this PLANNING.

bleh!!
bleh!!
6 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

But this doesn’t stop the maniacs from speeding and driving recklessly does it????

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  bleh!!

Without meaning to sound absolutely heartless…

“Young men aged 20 to 30 years old were most likely to be killed on the roads, as they accounted for a staggering 90 percent of all mortalities, it added.”

There isn’t an infinite pool of young reckless drivers aged 20-30. As utterly horrible as it sounds, they are dying out.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

So, let’s just wait.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

It’s not heartless, it’s a hard cold fact and everyone knows it. Statistically they are the ones who are most prone to reckless driving, speeding, tailgaiting, risk taking and all the rest of the nonsense we see every day. The smashed cars on junctions and in strategic places around the city placed as reminders are simply pointless debris. The endless debate and the needless deaths will continue ad infinitum until the necessary controls by the government are enforced, if ever.

Zippit
Zippit
6 years ago

Why many random changes we all surprised when we see speed changes sudden …

QBird
QBird
6 years ago

How much of this can be attributed to the police preventing people using the Expressway during peak time?

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago

My travel thru that expressway has become slower. When it was 100 K/hr I’m usually on the fast lane doing 100 K/Hr, now I have to stay on the center lane and go with the 60/70 K/Hr flow of traffic there. Every time I move to the fast lane doing 80 K/Hr an SUV will suddenly appear behind me with flashing head lights so to be on the safe side I just stay on the slower middle lane.

filmingindoha
filmingindoha
6 years ago

Nonsense. I take this road almost every day and all that changed when the speed was set to 80 is how annoyed and aggressive are the Cruiser and Patrol drivers when I obey the speed limit while they want to pass. It is much worse now.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  filmingindoha

Now all that happens is that cars pass more frequently on the inside then swerve back into the middle and outer lanes. It’s weave city, saw it this morning.

Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
Not Drinking The Cool-Aid
6 years ago

i can bring accident level down zero – close the road. The real issue that needs to be addressed driving standards and driver etiquette.

Osama Alassiry AlMaadeed

I think that I know the reason why they’re seeing fewer crashes: people are avoiding the “expressway”. I’ve been using other routes for almost a year.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

Ssshhhh…. don’t let them in on the secret that actually the roads behind the equestrian club etc will get you across town faster and with less stress!

Abdulla Mushtaq
Abdulla Mushtaq
6 years ago

Around 75% of the drivers don’t follow this new restriction they only slow down for speed cameras

Peter Pickle
Peter Pickle
6 years ago

Reduce the speed limit to 60km and I guarantee the expressway will be accident free…

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