DOHA: The city’s monumental roundabouts are slowly disappearing, giving way to modern traffic lights intersections.
Over the past several years, one by one nearly all roundabouts that once dotted the lanes and by-lanes of the city have been demolished and in their place have emerged traffic lights.
There were two kinds of roundabouts in the city — ordinary and monumental.
Among the latter was, for instance, the Crazy Roundabout — known as it was because there were three small roundabouts in one place with roads crisscrossing them.
It was such a tricky roundabout that people who learnt driving in those days were brought by traffic policemen there to test their ability to manoeuvre a car on a busy road.
“I was taken by a traffic cop to this roundabout when I was taking the driving test in 1994-95,” said an Asian expat, talking of how historic the Crazy and some other roundabouts in Doha were.
Experts say there is need to preserve old places.
“There are lots of places in Al Rayyan which need to be preserved. They were rebuilt in the late 1970s and have to be preserved. There should be a committee to identify the buildings before it’s too late,” Qatari Architect Ibrahim Jaidah had told this daily a few days back.
About roundabouts removed to upgrade roads and ease traffic, he said, “We were known by roundabouts, and they are gone now.
“Unfortunately, they are not documented. Roundabouts don’t work with traffic, it’s natural; but it will be interesting to document them.”
Some monumental roundabouts in the city that have vanished and given way to traffic lights intersections included the one near the old airport with a dhow.
A little ahead on this road (old-airport-Al Wakra), there was the Parachute roundabout which is also part of history now.
Then, there was the one near the postal headquarters behind the Corniche Road and this one was monumental, too, with an oryx on top of it.
The last monumental roundabout that survived on the C Ring Road until yesterday was the Clock Tower roundabout, also known as VIP roundabout.
Sub-contractors yesterday began pulling out this roundabout located just behind the old airport on the road. It seems the contractors have orders not to demolish the structure and pull the whole of it out in two pieces.