Posted on August 23, 2016

Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ continues to implement a comprehensive and ongoing plan to improve the road safety features surrounding 380 schools in various areas in Qatar.

Ashghal gives the School Zone Safety programme high priority, as it is one of the important issues to achieve the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS 2013 – 2022) headed by H.E. Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani. The NRSS aims to ease traffic congestions in these areas, separate vehicles from pedestrians and improve unpaved roads to achieve higher safety levels. The implementation of Ashghal’s plan, which started in 2013, is ongoing as Ashghal recently finished enhancing roads surrounding 63 schools in various areas, in addition to completing temporary enhancements around 33 schools until the permanent enhancements are implemented.

Currently, works are ongoing to temporarily or permanently enhance roads surrounding 21 schools, and design work is in progress for roads surrounding 180 other schools, before the enhancement works start. As part of the current plan, priority was given to 200 school zones (including 348 schools) after coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the National Road Safety Committee and after identifying the schools in urgent need for safety measures. Priority was given to these schools based on a study conducted by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to choose the school zones in urgent need for development.

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Preparation works are ongoing to enable enhancement works around 22 other schools, in addition to completing design work for 158 schools, which brings the completion percentage of the plan to more than 70% (264 schools out of 380), some of which are completed and some are under design or awaiting final approvals. The School Zone Safety Programme aims to ensure the safety of students and parents upon their arrival or departure from schools and to ease traffic congestion which is seen next to schools and which exacerbates due to the lack of parking spots, sidewalks and footpaths.

The completion of the integrated development works for every school needs about three months, preceded by several stages of studying and evaluating safety elements, which include the determination of the entrances and exits of the roads leading to the school in order to place the signboards within walking distance of the institution. This is in addition to setting standards, technical foundations, and general requirements for the establishment of parking lots and various stopping points to facilitate the passenger drop off and pick up and determine the pedestrian crossing sites.

The designs, which will develop traffic safety standards in school zones, will be set according to the results of the study and they will be adjusted according to the school administration recommendations. Implementation follows to establish safe roads in the school zones, providing car parks, building medians and small roundabouts in order to manage traffic flow in those areas. These works include as well placing a sufficient number of signboards, and road markings near schools. Moreover, the speed limit in the school zones will be set as 30 km/h and speed bumps will be installed in order to reduce speed.

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In order to ensure the pedestrians safety, the Roads Maintenance team creates safe footpaths for them and for people with special needs, noting that the enhancement and maintenance of these walkways will also be ensured. Safe entrances to schools which overlook the main streets are provided as well and bright coloured rumble strips are placed to alert drivers when arriving or leaving the school district. Also to ensure pedestrians safety, clear warning signals will be placed at the entrances and exits of the roads leading to schools.

As part of the programme implementation, Ashghal coordinated with all the administrations of the concerned schools in order to determine the safety requirements in the school zones before designs are finalised and the implementation starts. Furthermore, all the safety elements will be ensured in the schools that are currently being built or those which will be built in the future. The developments that the programme has implemented had a positive impact on the schools and parents; many schools have sent official thank you letters for those in charge of the programme thanking them for the developments completed in their school zone.

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