Corniche area to be closed from Nov 26-Dec 4 for Arab Cup

* Bus, Metro alternatives for commuters

* Exceptional permit for affected entities

* Signage and boards to guide motorists

* Traffic restrictions for heavy vehicles

* International Food Festival to be held

* Open plazas on Corniche, light and sound shows


With the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 set to begin at the end of the month, the authorities concerned have given details of arrangements, including traffic restrictions, during the tournament.

These include closing the Corniche for a few days, providing enhanced public transport services and holding a food festival, among others.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, the Local Organising Committee of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 shed light on the plan to close the Corniche area from November 26 to December 4. Bus and Metro services will be available for commuters required to visit the area during this period.

With private vehicles not allowed in the Corniche area during the said period, officials highlighted the alternative ways in which people can reach their destinations in addition to the mechanism for granting special permits for certain categories of vehicles when necessary.

The press conference was attended by representatives from several parties concerned, including the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Public Works Authority (Ashghal), Qatar Rail, Mowasalat (Karwa) and Qatar Tourism.

Abdulaziz Ali al-Mawlawi, Host Country Mobility Operations director at the SC, said that in conjunction with Qatar's hosting of the FIFA Arab Cup, the country will witness some changes in terms of transportation in order to provide a distinctive experience for all football fans and the teams participating in the tournament alike, according to the highest international standards.

He explained that in terms of the public transport strategy, work will be co-ordinated with various authorities and partners to provide various options for public transport solutions to ensure the smooth movement of all guests and visitors to Qatar, in addition to developing plans for the movement of teams, official delegations and securing them. The Local Organising Committee will provide a variety of solutions and alternatives to facilitate these changes in preparation for the tournament, in a manner that does not conflict with the daily activities of community members, businesses and institutions, he said.

Al-Mawlawi noted that fans and guests of Qatar will benefit, during the tournament, from the State's investment in development of the transportation network over the past years, which has contributed to shortening distances between the tournament's stadiums, facilities and various destinations in the country in a manner that ensures smooth movement, Qatar News Agency reported.

Qatar will implement its strategic plans for transportation operations during the FIFA Arab Cup as part of its efforts to improve operational readiness for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and to provide the best possible experience for fans.

Mohamed Ali al-Marri, design engineer at Ashghal, said systems have been developed to detect vehicle queues and reduce waiting times at signals, thereby enhancing traffic control on roads, at traffic signals and in the yellow box at intersections. He added that an alert will be sent to the control room if the waiting time is long to reduce traffic congestion.

He explained that through cameras, a road condition update will be activated so that any event, traffic obstacle, congestion or accident is automatically identified and an alert is sent to the control room to take the necessary action.

As for the development and beautification work of the Corniche, al-Marri said Ashghal continues to implement the most important works to develop Corniche Street and surrounding road to provide a better experience for fans through paths, tunnels and bridges designated for pedestrians.

He said Ashghal is working to prepare the infrastructure for bus stops, pointing out that the Corniche Beautification and Development Project includes the construction of four pedestrian tunnels for boosting pedestrian movement and facilitating pedestrian crossing on the Corniche. Ashghal is also constructing three open plazas along the Corniche with attractive designs to draw visitors, he informed, adding that the plazas will have artworks highlighting Qatar's historical and cultural identity and heritage.

Further, he said connected paths for bicycles and pedestrians will be provided on the Corniche to enhance traffic safety for road users and ensure the safety of crossing and movement of pedestrians and cyclists between the Corniche and the side connected to tunnels, such as Al Bidda Park, Theatre Park and the Towers area.

He pointed out that as part of the plans to provide an enjoyable experience for the public, roads and public places will be beautified in co-ordination with Qatar Tourism. Also, eight interactive light and sound shows, extending from the Theatre Park to the Pearl Monument on Corniche Street, will be held from November 26 to December 19 to coincide with the food festival organised by Qatar Tourism.

Al-Marri explained that a large number of boards will be installed to instruct motorists about the Corniche closure. Further, the road status will be updated instantly on e-boards using smart transportation systems and there will also be new sign boards for the pedestrians. He added that motorists should benefit from the newly opened roads and intersections and use the available GPS applications to find the best routes.

First-Lieutenant Khaled Nasser al-Mulla, head of the technical team at the MoI, said a Corniche closure committee has been established under the panel concerned with transportation plans and operations for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The work of the technical team is focused on following up on and preparing all planning and operational matters related to closing the Corniche and roads affected by the closure.

He said the Ministry of Interior and participating security agencies have fully supported the committee in the planning stages and in implementing the plans. The closure period will last from the dawn of November 26 until December 4, and Corniche Street will be reopened to the public for usual traffic on the morning of December 5.

The official explained that the traffic closure includes a closure from Sharq Intersection towards Sheraton Intersection in the north, and from Sheraton Intersection to Port Intersection in the south, while traffic will be open for those travelling from the centre of Doha towards Port Intersection and heading to Sharq intersection. All roads leading to Corniche Street will be closed, including from Al Fanar Intersection, Al Jasra Intersection, Al Marmar Intersection, Al Diwan Intersection, Al Maha Intersection, the Civil Defence Intersection and Barzan Intersection, he added.

He noted that alternatives to private vehicles will be available during the closure period. These include the Doha Metro, with seven of the total 37 stations serving the Corniche area, as well as public transport buses. Also, there will be open areas for pedestrians on Corniche Street. He said there has been co-ordination with all parties directly or indirectly affected by the Corniche closure, with detailed maps being sent to them showing alternative routes to reach their destinations.

He advised people to use alternative roads, besides the Corniche shuttle service and the Metro 'Park and Ride' facility to reach their destination.

First-Lieutenant al-Mulla called on road users to use Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor to travel from the south to the north and vice-versa, saying that there is no objection to using C-Ring Road and February 22 Road to go to the centre of Doha. He added that they can also use Majlis Al Taawon Street, A-Ring Road and Istiklal Street as alternatives to the Corniche to reach their destinations.

Stressing that the goal of sorting the movement of vehicles on roads is to reduce congestion, he said heavy vehicles and buses have been banned from using A-Ring Road, B-Ring Road, C-Ring Road, February 22 Road, Sabah Al Ahmad Corridor, Mohamed Bin Thani Street, Al Markhiya Street and Istiklal Street during from 6am to 8.30am, from 12noon to 3pm, and from 5pm to 10pm during the closure period. This is with the exception of school buses and public transport buses, while trucks will be banned from moving around all stadiums hosting matches except from 1am until 5am.

The Ministry of Interior had advised people to adhere to the instructions to avoid being subjected to traffic violations in accordance with Article 49 of the Traffic Law, noting that it is not permissible for other vehicles to use/obstruct bus stops.

He also informed that Ashghal has created an e-portal for exceptional permits for parties affected by the closure. The Exceptional Permits Service during the closure period can be availed of through the e-portal of Ashghal's Customer Service portal.

Restaurants, cafes and commercial entities operating on the Corniche and with no other branches will be given passage permits at certain times.

Also, a dedicated number, 188, has been allocated through the Ashghal Call Centre for the Corniche closure service to facilitate and expedite any kind of response.

He said the Traffic Department has taken all necessary precautions and measures to provide smooth traffic with a considerable presence of traffic patrols to help ease any congestion. More than 40 intersection traffic lights are to be reprogrammed according to the status of traffic on roads.

Head of the Technical Support Department for Tourism Events and Festivals at Qatar Tourism, Hamad al-Khaja, reviewed the main features that Qatar will present to its residents during the FIFA Arab Cup, explaining that the 11th Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) will be organised as the main event during the tournament.

Al-Khaja said the activities of the international festival will be held at Al Bidda Park from November 26 to December 17 and in the Corniche area from November 26 until December 4. A number of restaurants and hotels, as well as private projects in the country, will participate.

He pointed out that this edition is the largest ever in the history of the festival in terms of duration, which will extend to about three weeks at Al Bidda Park, in terms of space and participation as well as the quality of the accompanying events. It will be held from 3pm to 11pm daily except during the weekend, when it takes place from 3pm until 1am.

He said the festival will adhere to the precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Public Health to preserve public health and safety, as those wishing to attend the festival's activities must display the Ehteraz application status. He added that the festival area will be completely fenced to ensure the safety of individuals.

He explained that 4,000 people will be allowed to attend at the same time during weekdays and 6,000 people during the weekend. The attractions and facilities include fireworks, 145 food kiosks, 12 food trucks, various sitting areas and other events.

In a related tweet, Ashghal said the Supervisory Committee of Beautification of Roads and Public Places, in co-ordination with Qatar Tourism, will organise eight light and sound shows on the Corniche from November 26 to December 19, coinciding with the food festival.

Media and Government Relations manager at Mowasalat Company (Karwa) Khalid Kafood said the company will cover, during the closure plan, three main lines - the Corniche, B-Ring Road and C-Ring Road - with many buses, and the waiting time will be approximately 15 minutes. He pointed out that this service will be launched from November 26 to December 4 with a consistent flow. The service will cover stopping points from both sides, the north and the south.

As for buses on B-Ring Road, they will operate from November 26 until December 18 and the northern part of the street will have specific stopping points.

There are 11 bus stops along both the south and north sides of the Corniche, with 15 stops on B-Ring Road and 19 on C- Ring Road.

Furthere, chief of Corporate Strategies and Business Development at Qatar Rail, Ajlan Eid al-Enazi, said the Doha Metro will play a vital role during the closure period. He stressed Qatar Rail's full readiness, through 37 stations, to transport all commuters to their destinations.

Al-Enazi advised individuals to use the Metro during this period to reach business premises or any other places, explaining that alternative solutions have been developed to reach the Corniche with ease, through seven stations in the area: National Museum, Souq Waqif, Corniche, Al Bidda, West Bay, DECC and Ras Bu Abboud. He also stressed the readiness of Al Bidda station to receive and transport all individuals comfortably, especially during the period in which the Qatar International Food Festival will be held.

The official said the metrolink feeder bus service will continue to operate through 21 stations during the closure period, and some of its routes will be temporarily diverted to alternative routes during the closure period. The metroexpress service will operate through six stations, as usual, and any change of routes will be announced to the public on social media sites and at stations, he added.

As for the 'Park and Ride' service, al-Enazi explained that there are nine stations - Lusail, Al Qassar, Al Wakra, Ras Bufontas, Al Waab, Al Sudan, Qatar University, Al Messila and Umm Ghuwailina - where this is available. He advised people to follow the official accounts of Doha Metro on social media and the Qatar Rail application, or contact the customer service centre at 105. There are also customer service staff at the stations who can answer all queries related to the service.



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