Two huge arches that will serve as the gateway to Doha’s West Bay business district have become the talk of the town as their structure starts to take shape.
The Al Wahda Arches are located at the southern end of the under-construction Lusail Expressway, on the site of the old Rainbow (Arch) roundabout.
They’re being built for Ashghal by Eversendai Qatar as an “artscape” project on the multi-billion riyal highway.
Eversendai first announced details of the structure in a statement to the Malaysian stock exchange in March last year.
At the time, it said there would be two arches – one 147m long and nearly 100m high, and another one rising to almost 78m and spanning 140m in length.
Initially, there were also plans to build a 85x25m visitors’ center that would have been suspended 40m in the air between the two arches.
These were to have been supported by a system of hangars and cross-bracing cables, and accessed by cable car.
However, a number of sources said the plans for the center have since been scrapped.
The project is also running behind its initial completion schedule of June this year.
Eversendai declined to discuss progress on the arches this week, referring questions to Ashghal.
When contacted by Doha News, an Ashghal spokesperson would only say, the “new arches are a new monument that will replace the old one.”
When the project is completed, the dual arches will sit atop a three-level interchange that includes a tunnel and runs three lanes in each direction.
There will also be a bridge with three lanes in each direction.
Al Wahda will be one of three multi-level intersections on the 5.3km route linking central Doha with the under-construction Lusail City.
Work began on the Expressway in 2012, and the landmark Arch roundabout was demolished the following year to make way for the new route.
Led by contractors Hyundai, works on the QR5 billion project are expected to wrap up by the end of next year, according to Ashghal’s website.
Once complete, it should significantly reduce congestion and shorten journey times between Lusail, northern districts of Doha and West Bay.