After reducing the number of stadia for the World Cup 2022 down from 12 to eight, Qatar has revealed the first major delay to its massive infrastructure program, supposed to be completed in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
According to local sources, the $12-billion Sharq Crossing Programme has been put on the back burner and is not included in the government’s recently released priority list for the next seven years.
Comprising three bridges linked with two immersed tunnels and a marine tunnel interchange spanning Doha Bay, the project was due to connect Doha’s Hamad International Airport with the city’s cultural district of Katara in the north and the downtown central business district of West Bay.
Rated as one of the one of the most ambitious engineering projects in the region and designed by Spain’s Santiago Calatrava, the crossing includes three bridges spanning between 600 metres and 1,310 metres, reports Arabian Business.
It was expected to be capable of handling 6000 vehicles an hour and offer some relief to commuters on the Corniche, while also serving as an iconic attraction.
Construction was to start this year and be completed by 2021, Nasser Ali Al Mawlawi, the president of Qatar’s Public Works Authority, Ashghal, said when he announced the project in December 2013.
It is not clear why the project has been postponed, and whether construction will be entirely delayed until after the World Cup.
Despite assurances to the contrary, low oil prices have put significant strain on the country’s revenues and as the population swells to work on the ongoing construction projects, further strain has been put on accommodation, roads and rail.
Qatar has announced $140-billion worth of projects in preparation for the international tournament, including roads, stadiums, the recently opened airport, a new port and residential and retail developments.