While public works authorities are reportedly postponing and scaling back several development projects, it appears plans are progressing for a new multibillion-dollar waterway crossing running above and below Doha Bay.
On Wednesday, Ashghal held an “industry engagement day” to brief engineering and construction firms interested in working on the 12km Sharq Crossing project, which will connect the new Hamad International Airport, Katara Cultural Village and the West Bay financial district.
Dubbed “one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever undertaken in the Middle East” when it was officially unveiled in December, the Sharq Crossing will consist of three bridges linked by 8km of subsea tunnels.
Construction is slated to start in 2015 and wrap up by 2021.
Ashghal has declined to discuss the budget of the project, but a report published earlier this year by MEED puts the price tag at around $12 billion. According to the Dubai-based business intelligence group, the first tenders on the project will be awarded sometime this year:
“MEED understands that there will be between four and seven packages covering the three bridges, which vary between 600m and 1.3km, and the tunnel sections.”
The report added:
“A final design for the crossing has been long time coming, with earlier designs dismissed by the former emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who wanted something special. The latest iteration, which was announced by Ashghal in December 2013, is certainly that – with three iconic bridges linked by subsea tunnels creating the appearance of a flying fish as the bridges leap out of the water.”
The MEED report notes that contracting companies are becoming increasingly concerned about the rising input costs stemming from the country’s aggressive infrastructure build-out and limited capacity to import construction materials.
According to Reuters, this was one factor – along with competition for manpower and bureaucratic delays – that have led authorities to reschedule 15 percent of the country’s development projects that are not essential for hosting the 2022 World Cup.
The Sharq Crossing is forecast to be capable of handling 6,000 vehicles an hour, taking some of the pressure off existing roads.