Controversial football World Cup host Qatar will complete work on the first venue for tournament matches by 2016, six years before the event takes place, officials announced on Tuesday.
"We are very happy with the rapid progress of renovation works at the site. Khalifa International Stadium is moving to new heights with structural work in concrete and steel, and the vertical structure is now at level eight while strengthening works are also underway. We expect the stadium to be handed over by the main contractor at the end of 2016," Engineer Mansoor Saleh Al Muhannadi, project manager at Aspire Zone Foundation, said.
The arc and undulating roof of Khalifa International Stadium are visible from afar, providing a prominent introduction to the Aspire Zone. The large arch on the eastern side which was used as a platform for the launch of fireworks during the 2006 Doha Asian Games opening ceremony has already been removed, and is currently being replaced by two arches that are further visible signs of progress on the site.
Originally built as a 20,000-seater stadium in 1976, Khalifa International Stadium hosted the Gulf Cup that year. It returned to hosting prominence in 1992, receiving an upgrade to once more host the Gulf Cup and later hosted the 1995 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The stadium is currently undergoing a comprehensive renovation to meet the FIFA standards for World Cup stadiums, which includes adding a new building to the east wing, and building a single roof to cover the whole seating area.
The venue will fit 40,000 spectators and be completely cooled, including the field of play, all seats and concourses. The redevelopment will allow the stadium to host group stage, round of 16 and quarter-final matches.
Work continues to advance with a priority placed on health and safety practices on site. Around 3,300 construction workers have completed a total of 3,234,709 man-hours worked without a recordable accident.
The skeleton of the new stadium is on track for completion by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a new tent which will cover approximately 70 percent of the stadium was fabricated in the United States and is currently being assembled in Mexico. It will soon be shipped to Doha to be fixed using cabling made in Germany. So far, around 42,000 cubic meters of structural concrete have been poured.
"With this renovation, the stadium will not only be refurbished, but also enhanced with new features, maintaining its position as a global sports center and also improving its role as a focal point for the local community," Ghanim Al Kuwari, SCDL competition venues executive director, said.
The venue will house the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum. Food courts, shops, multi-purpose rooms, VIP lounges and a health center will also be available on the upper and lower concourses to be built in the East wing. In addition to this, a new road network along with two new metro stations in the surrounding area will connect the stadium to public transport.
A joint venture between Midmac Contracting and a subsidiary of the Belgian Besix Group, Six Construct, is overseeing the main contractor works on the stadium. Dar Al Handasah and Projacs are the Design and Project Manager Consultants respectively.