*The expressway network would facilitate access to FIFA World Cup stadiums
*The Orbital Highway is directly connected to Hamad Port
Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Saad bin Ahmed al-Muhannadi has stressed that the ongoing infrastructure projects in Qatar have not been affected by the challenges arising from the economic blockade imposed on Qatar.
He made the observation while speaking on the sidelines of the opening of the Orbital Highway in western Rayyan on Sunday.
"Besides sourcing construction materials from a number of alternative destinations, a large number of our contractors are also using locally produced materials for their projects," he said when asked about the impact of the blockade, if any, on the ongoing projects.
"We have close co-operation with material providers in a number of countries such as China, India, Turkey, Kuwait and Oman, and they are providing equipment for most of the infrastructure projects in Qatar. Hence, project works are continuing as per the plan," he added.
The top Ashghal official also said a number of new manufacturing facilities to produce materials for construction activities are expected to start functioning over the next few years, and this would augment the availability of materials in the local market.
Expressing confidence that the completed stretches of the Orbital Highway would enhance connectivity across the country without any traffic congestion, the Ashghal chief said the movement of heavy vehicles to places such as Al Shamal, Al Khor, Umm Slal and Mesaieed would improve considerably in the coming months.
HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti noted that the Orbital Highway is directly connected to Hamad Port, and the opening will help enhance goods movement directly from the port to Al Shamal Road.
HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi stressed that the Orbital Highway provides easy access to and direct link between residential, commercial and industrial areas in the north and south of Qatar.
Meanwhile, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy secretary-general Hassan al-Thawadi stressed that the expressway network being implemented by Ashghal would facilitate access to the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums in Qatar.
The Orbital Highway will provide direct access to a number of stadiums, including Al Rayyan, Al Khor and Lusail.
It was also informed at Sunday's opening that Ashghal had accelerated the pace of implementation in order to complete the project ahead of schedule owing to its importance in providing a direct link between Hamad Port and G-Ring Road, the Industrial Area, Salwa Road, Dukhan Highway and Al Shamal Road, before reaching Lusail City and Al Khor and further north.
It is expected that at least 2,500 trucks could use the Orbital Highway daily between the north and south, especially for transportation purposes between Hamad Port and the northern ares.
Ashghal officials also informed that the seven-lane-a-side highway would ensure flawless movement for nearly 6,000 light vehicles an hour when it is completed. On the highway, five lanes on each side are for the movement of vehicles other than trucks. When fully completed, at least 12,000 vehicles could effectively move on one side, it was informed.
Later, Abdullah al-Attiya, assistant president of Ashghal, informed some parts of the phase opened last month were completed ahead of their schedule.
The importance of the opening, said al-Attiyah, is in providing free-flowing traffic movement for trucks going to and from Hamad Port and Al Khor and further north and the road will reduce travel time to about 50% when it is completed.