Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Flaws in Salwa road pavement construction

Web posted at: 2/6/2007 3:46:28
Source ::: The Peninsula


The Qatar General OrganiSation for Standards and Metrology (QGOSM) has said that there was clear evidence of a structural failure in the construction of the pavements of Salwa International Highway.

Attending a joint meeting of concerned officials, convened by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) to look into the massive cracks developed on Salwa International High way, the QGOSM nominees said that there was very clear evidence of extensive fatigue cracking. At the meeting they expressed their serious concern about the use of the Type 5 pavements utilising a specific crack-arrest- layer (GSB).

Top Ashghal officials, who attended the meeting, wanted the Parson International Ltd (PIL), the company responsible for the design work for phase 1 of Salwa International Highway, to clarify the details of the joint interface between Type 5 pavement and the full depth construction type 1 pavement. They also asked the company why a full-depth construction had not been adopted in accordance with Qatar Highway Design Manual (QHDM).

The PIL clarified that the pavement design was done according to the findings of a report prepared on behalf of Roads Department of Government of Qatar.

Henry Saville, currently Parsons Sector manager for Roads and Highways in Europe, said that though the PIL did not agree with the contents of the report, they had been required to base their design on the contents of the ERI report which stated that the structure of the existing road pavement was adequate for the traffic loading foreseen.

Saville, who said that he was responsible for the design works of the highway, added that the design thickness of the required granular sub base layer was increased by 20 per cent in order to accommodate any increase in traffic as well as to allow for then likelihood of overloaded trucks and tyre pressures in excess as anticipated by ERI report.

Responding to a query from Ashghal authorities, the PIL confirmed that a `crack arresting layer' was not included in the pavement type in the Qatar Highway Design Manual (QHDM). It said that a granular subbase crack arresting layer, which was used in Salwa Road project, had been used in road pavement rehabilitation in at least three other nations including Vietnam, Greece and Romania and it was performing satisfactorily in these countries.

The PIL pointed out that sections of the new road, where the Type 5 pavement had been constructed on Salwa Road, had been under traffic pressure for many months. But no pavement distress was recorded. The pavement developed cracks only after the heavy and incessant rains in the beginning of December 2006. “A series of tests had been carried out on materials taken from the failed areas, as well as on samples taken from other areas of type 5 pavements. The test results indicated that the materials used had fully complied with the specific standards", the PIL said.

PIL pointed out that in one or two of the areas where failures had occurred, some of the asphalt surfacing had not been laid in accordance with the specification and Non-Conformance Reports (NCR's) had been issued to the contractor.

The volume of traffic had increased over twenty per cent allowed for in the original design. It also suggested Ashghal to carry out a Benkelman Beam test (BBT).

However, Ashghal nominees in the committee pointed out that although the first failures were experienced on sections where only the 60mm asphalt base-course had been laid, there were now almost as many failures on sections of road where wearing course had also been laid. There were a number of pavement failures on sections where the road was constructed on high fill, they said.

Responding to a point that there is a clear evidence of structural failure on the crack arresting layer of the pavement, PIL replied:" The trial pit investigations carried out and the associated test results on the GSB layer had produced no evidence of structural failure to the crack arresting layer.

Expressway project hits roadblock

Web posted at: 9/12/2009 2:20:32

DOHA: Breaking its prolonged silence on reports of the suspension of Qatar’s prestigious Doha Expressway project and the consequent legal battle with its ‘client’, German construction major Bilfinger Berger on Wednesday said it was expecting the termination of the multi-million riyal contract for the highway.

“Despite interventions at the highest level, the client is not willing to settle outstanding debts running into the triple digit million euros,” Bilfinger said in its new earnings outlook posted on its website.

Bilfinger has put the blame on its ‘client’ for the undue delay in the completion of the prestigious project. Public Works Authority’s (Ashghal) two major road projects have run into trouble due to disputes with contracting companies.

The project has been suffering major disruptions and delays for which the client is responsible. For this reason, the construction period has more than doubled from the original 24 months. The client has already accepted responsibility for a 21-month extension of the construction period, Bilfinger said.

Bilfinger said that it has serious disputes with its ‘client’ about the payment and some of the disputes are before the courts.

“The client is now attempting to avoid the financial obligations by terminating the contract,”it said.

The German company is expecting a prolonged legal dispute in Qatari courts. The project uncertainty has hit Bilfinger so hard that it was forced to cut its full-year profit forecast by at least $145m. It reduced its forecast for earnings before interest and taxes this year to a range of ¤210m to ¤230m against the previous forecast of ¤250m, the company’s new earnings forecast said.

“Earlier Wednesday, Bilfinger Berger issued a full-year 2009 profit warning, citing the expected contract termination due to a legal dispute with the client. It lowered its earnings before interest and taxes forecast to between ¤210m and ¤230m from ¤250m previously,” reports in the international media said.

The Doha Expressway project is part of the road development programme which aims to connect north of Doha with the south and east with west.

Qatar’s another multi-million road project is also caught in a legal quagmire. Ashghal has reportedly slapped a lawsuit on a Malaysia-based company, an international consulting company and an insurance company in Qatar, seeking damages in connection with the Salwa road project.

While the construction company alleges that Ashghal has stopped payments to the tune of millions of riyals even after issuing the certificate of completion, an expert panel set up by Ashghal found that the construction quality was not up to the Qatari specification.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Work on Expressway project ‘suspended’

A Doha Expressway project worksite. PICTURE: Nousahd Thekkayil

By Sarmad Qazi The contract of a major road developer working on the ambitious Doha Expressway project has been terminated by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), sources said yesterday.

The source said work by Germany-based Bilfinger-Berger, the main contractor of the Doha Expressway/22 February Street has been halted as well.

While no one could be reached at the company, whose listed telephone lines are never picked up, an official at the Doha Expressway Project office at the Ashghal yesterday did not deny the news when requested for a confirmation.

Earlier, on August 12, reports in the Arabic press said that the work on the project had been suspended due to a dispute between Ashghal and Bilfinger-Berger. The reports attributed the dispute to payments.

The Doha Expressway project is part of the road development programme which aims to connect north of Doha with the south and east with west. The 22 February Interchange (Packages 1 & 2) is part of the overall QR8bn Doha Expressway project which includes 12 other packages.

The current status of the project can best be categorised as still under execution after it was supposed to be completed in Q2 of 2008. It was now expected to be completed in March 2010.

Phases I and II of the project, work on which was ongoing includes development of a main highway from the Immigration intersection to the Midmac intersection including service roads, infrastructure and landscaping works, construction of 4 main interchanges Omar bin Khatab, Al Rayyan (Jaida roundabout), Juaan and Al Sadd (an extension of the Al Sadd street).

The scope of work included for the contractor included construction of a 6km highway including 3 lane dual carriageway, crossovers, underpasses and 4 grade separated interchanges.