The ongoing QR1.59bn Salwa Road development project has caused a considerable decline in business for the hundreds of establishments in the area, traders said.
“Though this project is essential for the country, the flip side is that the businesses are being increasingly affected, mainly due to the disruptions in access,” a trader said.
According to some estimates, there has been a 50% decline in revenues on average, especially on retail sales.
A leading tyre shop reported a clear 50% drop in business and is presently operating with just half of its manpower. A grocery has seen 45% decline in turnover and is bracing for a further fall.
An outlet dealing in ceramic tiles and other materials and paying a monthly rent of QR200,000, on a recent day registered retail sales of just QR500, the lowest ever.
The authorities concerned have ensured traffic flow with diversions at appropriate locations, but the access lanes for many of the businesses have been severely affected.
For instance, the tyre shop is unable to open one of its two service bays as the area right in front has been completely dug up.
“Given the situation, we do not have any option but to wait for the time-bound completion of the road works by December 2012 and hope for the best in the coming 16 months,” a trader said.
About 25% of the Salwa Road development project had been completed by the end of May this year and work has progressed substantially since.
The four roundabouts on one of the busiest roads in Qatar are being converted into interchanges. They are Qatar Decoration, Central Market, Aziziya and Ain Khalid.
The highway, which goes all the way to Abu Samra where Qatar’s only land border with another country - Saudi Arabia in this case – is located, is being expanded to four lanes on each side.
Sidra trees planted on the median between the Midmac flyover and Qatar Decoration roundabout were removed for transplantation elsewhere.
The project, awarded by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) to a joint-venture of Yuksel-Midmac in June 2010, is slated for completion by December 2012.
Work began in July 2010 from the Ain Khalid side of the project, following which the roundabout was enlarged and reconnected to the mainline on January 1 this year.
As there are around 875 businesses on either side of the road, Yuksel-Midmac has adopted a system under which the traffic flow will continue, by first enlarging and then reconnecting the roundabouts to the mainline.
“The enlargement of roundabouts allows work to continue over and under them for the underpasses, as traffic flows by,” an official said.
The project utilises an integrated traffic system with cameras installed at various construction points for monitoring.
A special toll-free number (800 0050), a first for any contractor in Qatar for any grievances during the project, is up and running, the official said.
The project covers laying of huge sewer lines, installation of traffic signals at Al Bustan, Wholesale market, Azziziya and Ain Khalid, new asphalt pavements, installation of street lights, traffic signs and building infrastructure for an integrated transport system among others.
When work on the Salwa Road is complete, it will offer non-stop traffic flow and road access starting from the Ramada Junction. The Salwa Road starts from the Jaidah Bridge.
Once past the Industrial Area Interchange, the road becomes the 81km-long Salwa International Highway and leads to Saudi Arabia.
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