All photos by Peter Kovessy
A new parking garage and underground pedestrian passage that connects Qatar’s Souq Waqif to the Corniche are expected to open later this week, before the launch of the 2015 Spring Festival.
A handful of signs stating that the new north Souq Waqif parking lot is already open were prematurely set up around the ramps leading to the three-story underground lot this morning.
And several daily newspapers also reported that the project would be completed by today.
However, the lot, which has some 2,000 spots, was still closed when Doha News visited the site this morning.
While one security guard said he was expecting it to open later in the day, a construction site supervisor said Wednesday was a more likely target.
The project is being led by local construction firm UrbaCon Trading & Contracting.
Organizers of Souq Waqif’s popular Spring Festival are counting on work to be largely wrapped up by the time performances start on Friday. Pre-published maps direct visitors arriving by car to the new north parking garage, among other lots in the vicinity.
The new parking lot will likely help to alleviate some of the traffic headaches in the area during peak hours, when surface parking lots around the popular tourist attraction are frequently stretched to capacity.
There are several entrances and exits to the parking garage off the Corniche and Abdullah Bin Jassim Street, which is currently closed to traffic and runs along the north edge of Souq Waqif.
Above the parking garage, crews are also working to complete a landscaped park with benches, playgrounds, a refreshment stand and an outdoor amphitheater.
Hundreds of laborers could be seen working on the site today.
While some appeared to be putting the finishing touches on parts of the site by painting railings and mopping decorative tiles, others were seen carrying additional construction materials underground and installing window frames around the structures housing the elevators.
Souq Waqif’s fourth annual Spring Festival starts on Friday, Jan. 23, and runs for two weeks, through Feb. 6.
Many of the activities start in the mid-afternoon and run until late in the evening. Daily attractions for children include pony and camel rides, art workshops and Shaun the Sheep performances.
Additionally, clowns, drummers and other entertainers will be wandering the souq’s streets, while trained dolphins will be putting on two shows daily.