Abu Hamour tunnel named Global Best Project

A multinational COWI-team was working deeper than ever before in Qatar, when designing the Abu Hamour drainage tunnel. Engineering News Record has named the tunnel Best Water/Wastewater Project of 2017.


Up to 16.5m3 of water flows through the Abu Hamour drainage tunnel every second, meaning it could drain an Olympic swimming pool in around two and a half minutes.

Designed by a joint COWI team from Denmark, India and Qatar and constructed by Salini/Impregilo, the tunnel was completed in 2016.  

Now, it has won the prestigious Global Best Project Award 2017 by Engineering News Record.

Vincenzo Zeuli, one of the project managers, commented: "I'm delighted we've won the award. It was something new for Qatar - their first ever TBM tunnel - and we were working deeper than they had gone before.”

Quality and innovation paved the way

In judging the award entrants, the panel of experts looked for world-class safety performance, innovation, and design and construction quality, with a special emphasis on the diversity of global project teams and their collaboration. They also considered how the project benefits the local community and/or the construction industry.

"Having a multinational team enabled us to access wider knowledge and experience, and we also developed a great working relationship with the contractor which contributed greatly to the success of the project. I'm proud of the quality and innovation we delivered," says Vincenzo Zeuli.

Pioneer within sustainable concrete

The project involved the design and construction of a storm water tunnel and access shafts in Doha along the route of the proposed F-Ring Road from Musaimeer Street to the New Doha International Airport.

The Abu Hamour tunnel is 9.5km-long and 3.7m-wide and the location  — a hot and humid environment with a high concentration of chlorides and sulphates in the soil and groundwater – meant an innovative design was required to achieve the specified design life of 100 years. In particular, it would need a highly durable lining.

COWI is a pioneer of steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) – a technology which creates a highly durable lining and had the added benefit of producing 60-70% less CO₂ than traditional concrete lining methods – and the team was able to apply this technique to the Abu Hamour tunnel, thereby meeting the design life requirement.

COWI first used SFRC on the Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP) in Abu Dhabi – the first time the technology was used in a bored tunnel in the Middle East. That project, where COWI also worked as designer for Salini/Impregilo, won the Arabian Tunnel Design Award in 2015.

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COWI employee Søren Kragh Pedersen

Søren Kragh Pedersen
Head of Group PA & PR
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Tel: +45 2025 7018