Nine years before the Fifa World Cup comes to the Middle East, Qatar is ramping up its infrastructure as it prepares to host an influx of around 500,000 football fans.
The state's Qatar Railways Company has awarded 20 billion riyals (Dh20.17bn) of construction contracts to build the 216 kilometre-long Doha Metro linking Doha city centre with many of the World Cup stadiums as part of a week of major property and infrastructure announcements.
The 8bn riyals of contracts to build the 12km long Red Line South underground sections between Doha city centre and the airport have been awarded to a consortium of QDVC, a firm owned by the Qatar sovereign wealth fund Qatari Diar and the French construction company Vinci as well as South Korean-based GS Engineering & Construction, and the local company Darwish Engineering, Meed reported yesterday.
A second 8bn riyals contract to build the 15km long underground sections for the Green Line, which runs north-south through the city, was awarded to a consortium of the Austrian company Porr, Saudi Binladin Group and the local HBK Contracting Company. And a 4bn riyal contract to build the two major stations at Msheireb and Education City went to South Korea's Samsung C&T, the Spanish construction firm OHL and local builder Qatar Building Company.
Last month Qatar Rail awarded an estimated 8bn riyals contract to build the 13km Doha Red Line North to a consortium of Impregilo, SK Engineering & Construction and Galfar Al Misnad Engineering & Contracting.
The news comes amid a week of announcements for major property schemes showcased in the Cityscape Qatar property exhibition. The most headline-grabbing was Barwa Real Estate's Oryx Island, a 250-hectare antelope-shaped island off the coast of Doha designed to house 20,000 to 25,000 travelling fans.
Computer-generated images of the HOK and ABS-designed project, which seems to draw heavily on Nakheel's Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, show that the island will contain five floating hotels or cruise ships providing temporary accommodation during the tournament as well as three permanent five-star hotels and a vast theatre pavilion allowing fans to watch the games on giant screens.
The island, which will take seven years and cost 20bn riyals to build will also include rows of about 235 private villas arranged on spits of land similar to the fronds of the Palm, shopping centres and mosques, a marine college, a spa hotel and a waterpark.
Barwa Real Estate, the property developer behind the ambitious scheme said that plans were currently at a "conceptual stage".