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 following completion of the tunnelling works, phase one of the project is now more than 50 per cent complete.
More than 21 tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have been used in the project, and a record was set in September last year for the most TBMs in operation in a city at any one time.
More than 470,971 concrete segments have also been used to produce more than 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. It comprises the construction of an 86km-long track network and 37 stations. The project is set to be completed in 2020, which is a year later than originally planned.
The tunnel breakthrough took place on Sunday and was witnessed by Qatar’s prime minister Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, transport minister Jassim Al Sulaiti and a number of Qatar Rail officials.
The managing director Abdulla Al Subaie, 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 tracklaying, station interiors and mechanical, electrical and plumbing works.
Major contracts that are still to be awarded include the facilities management contract to manage all of the stations and the contract 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 had pre-qualified to bid to run these, including 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 comprising 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.