Construction of a variety of infrastructures is being on the way in Qatar ahead of the grand opening of the World Cup in November 2022. Here, Hyundai E&C have conducted the Lusail Expressway project connecting the center of Doha and the Pearl-Qatar where the Amiri Diwan Royal Palace of Qatar and high-end residential complexes are located, and the construction of Al Bustan Street South project to expand the Al Bustan Street running north and south of the capital. Although the two roads already opened to the public, additional construction works are underway on the client’s request. Let’s listen closely to the stories of the two construction sites.
Gwak Pil-bong, Senior Manager / Kim Hyeong-woo, Senior Manager
The Lusail Expressway project (QLUS)
Choi Sung-hwan, Senior Manager / Nam Du-il, Senior Manager
The construction of Al Bustan Street South project (QABU)
“We seek technological cooperation as well as share staff accommodation.”
This interview was conducted via online messenger with Hyundai E&C’s employees working at the Lusail Expressway project (QLUS) and the construction of Al Bustan Street South project (QABU). They have forged friendship by exchanging construction knowhow, while overcoming sweltering heat and challenging demands from the client.
Could you introduce yourself?
KIM Hello. I am Senior Manager Kim Hyeong-woo. I have been in charge of materials and subcontract management since I was appointed to the project control team of QABU in July 2017. It is great to see you all online. How have you been in Korea, Mr. Nam?
NAM I have been great. Thanks. I am Senior Manager Nam Du-il. I recently returned to the head office after 99 months of service at QLUS since April 2012. I was responsible for design management of structures, roads and obstructions. I could quickly get back to work here, but I cannot get used to cold weather in winter.
CHOI I met some of you yesterday. Nice to see you again. I am Choi Sung-hwan. I have been working for the project control team of QLUS for 57 months since April 2016 as Senior Manager. I work mainly on design changes and administration.
GWAK I am Senior Manager Gwak Pil-bong. For 41 months since August 2017, I have been in charge of bridge and structure construction as a member of the design team of QABU. I have mainly managed bridge construction through the use of the precast segmental method.
It is known that the Lusail Expressway project (QLUS) is a large-scale project to build an expressway with up to 18 lanes and various facilities, and that the construction of Al Bustan Street South project (QABU) includes the construction of Qatar’s longest bridge.
CHOI QLUS aims to expand the existing eight-lane urban expressway to up to 18 lanes. Along with the road, this large-scale project includes the construction of 10 tunnels, four bridges, and a wide range of facilities such as microtunnels, water supply and drainage system, substations and telecommunication lines. In addition, ITS (Intelligent Transport System) is applied to this technology-intensive construction project.
NAM In general, this project was designed to expand the existing urban expressway, but the key of the project was to expand three roundabouts to three complex intersections. And I would like to select Al Wahda Arches, a new center of Doha which stands at the starting point south of the expressway, as one of the main constructions of QLUS. We had hard time to deal with the complex construction procedures to build the mega-sized arches above the interchange with a spiral flow of traffic.
CHOI The QLUS project was conducted between May 2012 and June 2020. The Lusail Expressway officially opened in December 2017, but the completion of the project was delayed due to hundreds of design changes made by the client. As we are working on additional construction works as per the client’s request, it appears to take more time to finish the project.
GWAK The purpose of QABU is to change the existing six-lane section of Al Bustan Street into an eight-lane overpass. We worked hard to build the eight-lane overpass road and eight access ramps across the 2.49-kilometer section. This project includes the expansion of Al Waab Road and Al Rasheeda Road, improvement of the road alignments, and relocation of water supply and drainage system, electricity and ITS to suit the road alignment of the new road.
KIM The construction started at the end of September 2017, and the entire section of the overpass opened to the public in October 2020. Currently, we are finishing landscaping work and others to reflect additional requests from the client. The client is active in promoting this newly built overpass as Qatar’s longest bridge.
The two projects are known to share the rented villa complex as staff accommodation. Both construction sites have worked with the same client to build expressways, which might lead to frequent communication and exchanges among workers.
CHOI We often exchanged construction materials. Just a few days ago, to my relief, we could borrow some construction materials in urgent need from the QABU construction site (laugh).
GWAK Various successful cases and trials and errors of QLUS have served as a model for QABU. QABU was joined by experienced workers of QLUS in the areas of design, construction and administration of a wide range of heavy equipment and materials such as pipes, steel frames and cables. Senior Manager Lee Hyon-jun, responsible for ITS, was also transferred to QABU.
KIM In 2017, the opening of the Lusail Expressway was just around the corner, while the construction of Al Bustan Street South was in its initial stage. Many foreign workers were transferred to QABU. As they were well-informed of Hyundai E&C’s systems, Qatar’s laws and practices, and construction specifications, they skillfully carried out their duties.
GWAK We received a great help from QLUS in technological aspects. Similar to QLUS, we had to establish a traffic plan, or TTM (Temporary Traffic Management), in the early stage of the construction since our project was conducted in the downtown area. It was challenging and stressful for many employees including me who worked in Qatar for the first time to frequently meet consultants, the TTM committee and police officers in order to get the green light for the plan. During the process, we got a big help from QLUS.
NAM Qatari clients are notorious for being demanding. We built the water pipe system after receiving approval in 2012. The client sent about 200 additional requirements to us in 2016, saying that there were changes in the internal regulations of Kahramaa, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation. But most of them were practically unacceptable. After we resubmitted the official documents and records of the previous design plan approval, we could manage to solve the issue on condition that we accepted one or two additional construction works. We should raise our guard all the time when we conduct construction projects in this country.
GWAK We also handled with similar cases, but we could persuade the client in a relatively easier way by using QLUS’s cases as a touchstone. We received tips for planning for bypass construction, relocation and construction of obstructions, and dealing with the client from QLUS.
CHOI As the two projects deal with the same client and PMC (Project Management Consultant), it could be a huge help to exchange information on a frequent basis. We all were active in responding to the client and its requirements by sharing information on major issues regardless of the construction sites involved. In order to address design changes and complaints from the client, QABU tried to persuade the PMC by referring to the approved cases of QLUS. Currently, the TSE storage facility project awarded to Hyundai E&C at the end of last year temporarily uses the field office of QLUS. The three projects share the same staff accommodation. Although the three projects are all different in terms of construction characteristics, QLUS and QABU will actively assist the TSE storage facility project since all of three are being carried out by Hyundai E&C in Qatar.
Both QABU and QLUS were conducted ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. You all must be proud of participating in the kingdom’s historic construction projects as representatives of Hyundai E&C.
KIM The original design of QABU did not have a bridge structure except the overpass running north and south of the capital Doha. One year after the completion of the construction, the client asked us to build a ramp bridge at the congested Al Waab Intersection. The construction of the ramp bridge required a wide range of changes in the original bridge design and construction, and the plan for traffic control. Moreover, the client asked us to finish the construction of the ramp bridge in only 79 days. The schedule was impossible to meet, but transforming impossible into possible is what Hyundai E&C can do. We came up with the optimized design and construction plan, and completed all the construction procedures on schedule and budget.
GWAK The Al Bustan construction site has worked to a tight construction schedule since the early stage of the project. While making all-out efforts to meet the planned schedule, we were asked to open one interchange and a part of a bridge on December 18, 2019 of Qatar National Day. The consultants were skeptical about the opening since we had to complete many more construction works than the originally planned milestone. However, we eventually opened the section on the requested schedule. At the end of last year, we opened the entire section of the bridge on schedule with the exception of an approach bridge. Even according to the client, it is quite unusual to complete such construction on schedule without delay.
NAM One week before the opening of the QLUS’ longest underpass, the client and PMC worried that it would be impossible to meet the schedule, adding that it appeared to take additional two or three weeks. All our employees working at the field office joined forces to do the system check and waste cleanup, making their worries unfounded. I felt deeply proud when the PMC said after the successful opening that we have made the impossible possible.
CHOI My most memorable moment in Qatar is the grand opening of the entire section of the expressway on Qatar National Day in 2017. We had difficulties in conducting the project due to various diplomatic issues. The successful opening was attributable to the concerted efforts of all our workers and close business relationship with the client based on mutual trust. I believe that the positive image of Hyundai E&C cemented during the entire process made a huge contribution to negotiations on the final construction costs with the client.
Do you have something to say to your colleagues?
CHOI The success of the two projects is all thanks to the efforts of all field workers. I appreciate you all for your efforts and look forward to your support in the future.
NAM Among us, I am the only one who returned to the head office. I feel a bit sorry for that. Amid the difficult times, I hope you all hang in there and see you soon in Seoul.
GWAK I hope we all stay healthy and happy and successfully complete the projects.
KIM I will join the head office around in January. Looking back, I could wrap up my work in Qatar thanks to the help and guidance of many colleagues. I appreciate you all. I hope all our construction sites in Qatar will be successfully completed without accidents.