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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Tunnelling work complete for Doha Metro’s first phase

Twenty-one tunnel boring machines and more than 70,000 concrete rings have been used to create a network of 111km of tunnels underneath Doha.
Qatar Rail has said that the 111km of tunnelling work required to deliver the first phase of the Doha Metro project has now been completed. Courtesy Qatar Rail
Qatar Rail has said that the 111km of tunnelling work required to deliver the first phase of the Doha Metro project has now been completed. Courtesy Qatar Rail

Qatar Rail has completed 111 kilometres of tunnelling work required to deliver the first phase of the Doha Metro project.

The organisation overseeing the delivery of the country’s rail transport networks said the ­final breakthrough was made when one of its tunnelling machines, Msheireb, broke through at Terminal One of Hamad International Airport, which is at the southern end of the Red Line running through the city.

Qatar Rail said that means phase one of the project is now more than 50 per cent complete.

A record was set in September last year for the most tunnel boring machines in operation in a city at any one time – at least 21 have been used in total, leading to the installation of 470,971 concrete segments to make 70,071 tunnel rings.

Phase one of Doha Metro has involved contracts worth 67 billion Qatari riyals (Dh67.6bn) handed out to contractors and consultants involved in constructing 86km of track network and 37 stations. The project will be complete in 2020, which is a year later than originally planned.

The tunnel breakthrough took place on Sunday and was witnessed by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, Jassim Al Sulaiti, the transport minister, and several Qatar Rail officials.

Abdulla Al Subaie, the managing director, said: “The end of tunnelling marks an impressive milestone in the progress of construction of this important project. It has been made possible due to the combined efforts of the entire Qatar Rail team and JV contractors.”

Saad Al Muhanadi, Qatar Rail’s chief executive, said that plenty of work still needed to be done, including the track-laying, stations’ interiors and mechanical, electrical and plumbing work.

Major contracts that are still to be awarded include facilities management for all of the stations and for the rail operating company.

The contract for the latter has been bundled in with a deal to operate the Lusail Light Rail Tram network.

In March, Qatar Rail said that six potential operators were qualified to bid to run these: a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries/JR West joint bid, MTR Corporation, Serco, Transdev, RATP/Keolis and Arriva/DB International.

In May, Qatar Rail cancelled a US$1.4bn contract with a consortium of South Korea’s Samsung C&T, Spain’s Obrascon Huarte Lain and Qatar Building Co to deliver the metro’s three major stations, replacing them with Consolidated Contractors Corporation (CCC).

The analyst BMI Research said that despite the upheaval it expected that rail would be “the strongest subsector” in Qatar’s transport infrastructure market and that CCC should have the capacity to speedily resume work following the upheaval.

“To date, the Doha Metro’s progress has been impressive and a key driver of growth within the Qatari construction sector,” it said.

mfahy@thenational.ae