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Doha Expressway

Doha Expressway

Doha Expressway - Doha, Qatar

Qatar's First Urban Highway

Population has doubled in Qatar in the last 6 years, and the resulting traffic has become a major problem. The government of Qatar—through its Public Works Authority (PWA)—wanted to create uninterrupted east-west and north-south traffic-flow corridors throughout the capital city of Doha. The Doha Expressway is part of a strategic plan to modernize transportation for Greater Doha. These major new highway corridors link through the suburbs of Qatar’s capital city with easy access to the new and old airports, the industrial area, and other major highway arteries such as Salwa Road, Dukhan Road, and North Road.

Parsons performed the initial concept study for a 22-km (14-mile) alignment in 2002 that in 2004 was expanded to 90 km (56 miles) with 39 grade-separated interchanges to serve future development and population growth. Working with the PWA, we considered many factors in developing the final alignment for the upgraded expressway, including but not limited to cost, traffic flow, existing right-of-way, land acquisition, utility relocation, and overall plans for the future transportation network. The project’s 13 packages integrate complete design of major components:

  • Controlled access highways
  • Frontage roads
  • Bridges, tunnels, and retaining walls
  • Traffic signals
  • Utilities such as communications, water, electricity, sewer, and drainage
  • Landscaping
  • Microtunnels
  • Street lighting

New Expressway Accommodates Future Growth

The function and final alignment of the new expressway meets the basic existing and future needs for the Greater Doha area:

Doha Expressway between D-Ring and E Ring roads

Doha Expressway between D-Ring and E Ring roads
(view east)

  • Virtually continuous and uninterrupted traffic flow from Mesaieed to Al Shamal through the Greater Doha area
  • Fast and convenient access from the new Doha International Airport on Ras Abu Abboud to Greater Doha and beyond
  • Links to other primary roads and convenient access to secondary road network
  • Ability to handle high traffic volumes for relatively long, uninterrupted distances at high speeds with controlled access at designated interchanges
  • Sufficient capacity for the many thousands of tourists visiting Qatar for events such as the 2022 FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup soccer tournament

The improvements required to upgrade the Doha Expressway to a fully access-controlled, high-speed motorway were extensive, particularly in the congested urban areas. The most challenging aspect of the design was to integrate a safe and practical new expressway within the narrow urban corridor, typically 64 m (210 ft) wide. The design was optimized within this corridor by using retaining walls, cantilevered overhangs, and median concrete barriers. Densely packed major utility lines were relocated to parallel service reserves. Safe access to the existing utilities was maintained at all times, even during construction, and these utilities remained operational with minimal disruption during the changeover.

The expressway includes the following features:

  • A fully controlled, divided facility with up to six lanes in each direction
  • 39 grade-separated interchanges and underpasses
  • Roadside access-control fencing
  • Substantial lengths of frontage roads, especially in developed urban areas
  • Median barriers/guardrails
  • Roadway lighting
  • Landscaping and irrigation in rural sections
  • Positive stormwater drainage facilities
  • At-grade traffic control devices
  • Utility relocation, protection, and corridor development
  • Infrastructure for future intelligent transportation system (ITS) facilities

The challenge of integrating the new expressway within this established and growing city extended well beyond improving the traffic conditions. Because the project primarily upgraded existing urban arterials, Parsons worked hand and hand with the PWA and other stakeholders in Qatar to develop safe and efficient facilities that minimize negative impacts on surrounding communities. Final acceptance of this project by the Qatar government was contingent on providing benefits to the surrounding—typically residential—communities. For example, the adoption of below-grade urban interchanges was based on the Emir’s desire for an aesthetically pleasing facility with minimal social and environmental impacts.

Below-grade interchanges minimize aesthetic impacts on neighboring communities

Below-grade interchanges minimize aesthetic impacts on
neighboring communities

Award-Winning Design Saves Travel Time and Reduces Air Pollution

Parsons met the challenge to develop the highest capacity interchange configurations within the constraints of the narrow right-of-way without compromising the facility’s safety. We used modified single-point diamond configurations where appropriate, and at system interchanges, we developed less conventional multilevel configurations for free flow-through movement with a roundabout for turns. Where turn volumes were exceptionally high, we used a fourth-level flyover ramp.

Parsons’ innovations optimized the facility’s safety and resolved challenging design issues. We are providing a safe, efficient, and modern highway that saves motorists travel time and, in turn, reduces air pollution in this growing capital city. An independent, international panel of judges with expertise in the roadway development industry honored these accomplishments—our innovative interchange configurations and overall approach to complex technical issues earned Parsons the International Road Federation’s prestigious 2004 Global Road Achievement Award in the concept design category.

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