QATAR Railways Company (QRC) will issue the first request for proposals for the country’s $US 40bn rail network in the first week of April. Four tunnelling contracts for the first phase of the Doha Metro, each worth $US 2-3bn, will be launched with winners set to be announced in October.
Mr Geoff Mee, deputy CEO of QRC, says that QRC has accelerated the metro project by 18 months in order to complete the first phase of the network in time for the 2020 Olympics for which Qatar is bidding.
Phase 1 comprises four lines totalling 75km which will reach the motor racing circuit at Losail in the north of the city, the New Doha International Airport in the south, Education City in the west and Airport City in the east. It will include 56km of underground line in single bore tunnels, 17km on viaduct, 5.3km at grade, and 26 stations. The initial packages will include contracts for construction of stations at Education City and Musheireb, which is expected to be the network’s busiest.
“As soon as the contracts are awarded we intend to order the tunnel boring machines; we are in discussions with the manufacturers,” Mee says.
Mee says that Qatar is aiming to involve as many local firms in the construction process as possible and is advising international contractors to establish relationships with competent local partners. Mee also confirmed that the proposed West Bay peoplemover is being re-evaluated due to the complexity of building the 11km underground link through the heart of Doha’s new financial district which is home to several high-rise buildings.
“It has to be studied whether the proposed system should be underground, elevated or at grade,” he says.