The Doha Metro is a rapid transit system currently under construction in Doha, Qatar and a number of its neighbouring municipalities. Upon completion, it is expected to comprise of 211.9km of route across four railway lines serving 85 stations. It will be an integral component of the larger Qatar Rail network, which will include long-distance high-speed rail across Qatar, and local light rail and people mover services within Doha.
Construction of the Doha Metro officially began with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Msheireb station, which will act as the hub for not only the Metro but also entire Qatar Rail network. Throughout early 2013, Qatar Rail submitted tenders to various international firms to construct sections of phase one, corresponding to the Red and Green Lines. In mid-May, Italian firm Impregilo was awarded a $2 billion contract to manage the construction of the Red Line North segment, running from Msheireb to Al Khor North. In June, it was revealed that QDVC and Porr were successful in their bids to lead the building of the Red Line South segment and Green Line, respectively. Fifteen tunnel boring machines will be used for the project from the German company Herrenknecht.
The Doha Metro will ultimately consist of four lines opening in phases beginning in 2019 with an eventual completion date of 2026. The Red, Green and Gold Lines will radiate out from a central interchange at Msheireb in Downtown Doha, with the Blue Line providing a semi-orbital service.
The Metro network will cover the Greater Doha area and will include connections to town centers and main commercial and residential areas throughout the city. In central Doha, the Metro will be underground, whilst at the outskirts; it will mainly be at ground level or elevated.
The Green Line Underground Project
The Green Line Underground Project is one of seven packages included in phase one of the wider Doha Metro, which will be operational before the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022. There are six different packages in addition to the Green Line Underground, forming the network in its entirety.
As Eng Jassim Al Ansari, Project Director of Qatar Rail explains, “The Green Line Project is part of the whole network and should be considered as such. It will serve many people. The network will bring direct benefits from a social, environmental, economic and human perspective. The project truly encompasses the main vision of Qatar 2022.”
The Green Line Underground Project will consist of 52km of track, including six stations, two switch boxes and additional structures such as evacuation shafts. The project also consists of 16.6km of twin-bored tunnels built at a depth of 20 meters. The line spans from Msheireb (Central Station) through to Education City and on to Al Rayyan and in total approximately 18.5km of track will run underground. The Green Line Project is also known as the Education Line due to the fact it will run through the Cattar Educational Institute.
According to the project directors, the Doha Green Line Underground Project is essential to the delivery of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is a key contributor to Qatar's 2030 vision.
The project has been broken down into a civil phase and a system phase. Currently the project is in the civil phase and has been since construction began in June 2013. This phase of development is due for completion in August 2018, at which point the system phase will get underway. The Green Line in its entirety will be completed two years ahead of the World Cup in 2020 and will cost in the region of €2 billion.
A Fully Integrated Joint Venture
The Doha Green Line Underground is a fully integrated joint venture between Austrian contractor, Porr, HBK Contracting Co., and Saudi Binladin Group. The beauty of such a set up comes from the fact that all partners are working towards a common goal, rather than trying to secure individual interests. Furthermore, as a joint venture there is minimal need to sub-contract. As Guenther Heilmayer, Project Director of PSH JV explains, “We are not splitting the venture into different verticals, meaning we do not need to sub-contract. As a venture we execute most of the work internally and only sub-contract a few specialized elements of the project. This means that managing contractors is not a problem. The overall advantage is all three partners have the same interest for all elements of the project. “We have a very integrated and collaborative approach to managing the project,” he says.
A Passion For Quality
From day one, quality has always been a priority for the joint partnership. The Green Line Underground is a self-certifying project, which means it manages its own quality control, as per the contract. “Quality is within our scope of work,” explains Heilmayer “To ensure we are meeting our stringent requirements, we have established a Quality Control department, which schedules regular internal and external audits.” Since the project got underway it has been audited at least once a week.
As well as its own quality control checks and measures, the Green Line Underground Project has had to adhere to a number of requirements from the Doha government. “We are following the full requirements in regards to waste management, noise pollution, traffic management and more.
“We knew from day one that we would have to deal with these concerns, so we put processes and systems in place to ensure they were dealt with properly. As an example, we monitor the movement of all our trucks and analyze how they affect the flow of traffic in surrounding areas. All this information is shared with our directors, shareholders and government bodies. We have also limited the noise on site to the comfort of local residents and businesses,” explains Ansari.
The main contractors are acutely aware that quality starts from the very beginning of a project. As such, the choice of designer was critical. “To ensure the quality of the design and build project we chose very renowned and experienced designers. The project is developed with state-of-the-art planning in mind,” says Heilmayer. This level of design quality has made environmental planning and considerations easier.
Sustainable Development Solutions
As well as monitoring waste, water usage and noise and light pollution on site, the Green Line Underground is also committed to obtaining a four star level of certification from the Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS). QSAS is a green building certification system developed for the State of Qatar, its primary objective being to create a sustainable built environment that minimizes ecological impact while addressing the specific regional needs and environment of Qatar. “We have worked hard to achieve a four star rating and are committed in terms of design and construction to ensure we are building to green standards,” says Ansari.
Supporting The Local Economy
A large part of the Doha Green Line Underground centers on local development and progression, and the project has supported this initiative in many ways. For example, it is committed to using local suppliers and labourers where possible.
As Heilmayer explains, “We have given priority to local contractors and suppliers to boost the economy and resident businesses. We have had to import some material, but we always look for local solutions when we can.”
A World-Class Safety Record
Employee safety is a key concern and the Doha Green Line Underground Project is proud of its world-class safety record to date. During project peaks, there can be up to 4,500 people working on site and yet the project has clocked up an impressive 7.5 million hours major incident free; no mean feat in a construction environment.
“We are achieving a very unprecedented record and have been awarded several times for it. This is a big point for us and we are very proud of this,” says Heilmayer. “Labour accommodation and welfare is an ongoing campaign for us and we recently had a visit of union representatives and the feedback is very positive. The level of welfare is well about European standards both on and off site.”
In order to maintain superior standards of health and safety, the project managers have employed the use of sophisticated technology and software. Real-time cameras watch the site 24/7 to monitor safety processes. This software is also used to record the site so senior management can see progress even when not on site.
To date, the Doha Green Line Underground Project has been a resounding success. Everything from design through to safety initiatives, sustainability concerns to traffic management and movement of trucks, and supplier management signals a new era of construction in Qatar.