Jamrat Bridge an architectural marvel
Published: Nov 10, 2010
JEDDAH: Pilgrims will be able to take advantage of the recently completed Jamrat Bridge’s fifth floor this Haj season, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
Pilgrims can reach the top floor of the SR4.2 billion ($1.12 billion) multilevel structure with the help of escalators and stairs.
The 950-meter-long bridge, which is 80 meters wide, can handle 300,000 pilgrims an hour.
The oval design of the pebble basin and the three 40-meter high pillars have improved the pilgrims' movement and drastically reduced the chance of congestion and stampedes when Hajis perform the stoning of the Satan ritual.
The bridge has 11 entrances and 12 exits in addition to a helipad at the top. An advanced cooling system is also in place in the locations in and around the bridge, maintaining the temperature at 29 degrees Celsius.
The bridge has been designed to enable authorities to quickly intervene in case of stampedes during the stoning ritual.
Sleeping or camping on the bridge or pedestrian paths will not be allowed under any circumstances, officials said. The foundations of the bridge are strong enough to hold 12 floors with a capacity for 5 million pilgrims if the need arises in the future.
With the completion of the project, the Jamrat has become a unique architectural achievement that is expected to stop stampedes and other crowd-related accidents.
It was with the aim of guaranteeing maximum safety and comfort to pilgrims that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah ordered the construction of the mammoth project.
Advanced engineering technology was employed in the construction of the bridge. The most remarkable feature of the bridge is that crowds of pilgrims approaching from a road cannot encounter pilgrims coming from another road.
Another feature is that those entering a floor will have to follow a one-way route. This also helps prevent crowding.
While pilgrims can perform the stone throwing ritual on all five levels of the bridge, those coming from the direction of Mina will enter the first floor through the approach road from the streets of Souq Arab and Souq Al-Jouharah, situated north of the tent city.
On the other hand, pilgrims from south Mina will enter at the second level of the bridge from the Southern Pedestrian Road and King Faisal Street. The exit from the second level is to the three roads sloping toward Mina.
The third level is meant for pilgrims coming from the direction of central Mina, King Fahd Street and also from the Mina hill slopes, while entry and exit from the floor is possible with the help of massive escalators in addition to ordinary staircases.
There are also approach roads to the third level from the mountain slopes and from behind Mina.
The fourth floor is meant for pilgrims coming from the direction of King Abdulaziz Street.
This level can be accessed and exited through the passages on the fifth level directly connected to the courtyard and utilities on King Abdulaziz Street.
The bridge also has facilities providing refreshments, ritual shaving, toilets, public security and first aid posts and fire stations.
A network of surveillance cameras transmits developments from every inch of the bridge to a control room, which enable quick mobilization of emergency services in case of any accidents.
A total of two million Muslims are expected to perform Haj this year, which will begin on Nov. 14.
The number, which includes a projected 250,000 pilgrims from within the Kingdom, could be down by 10 percent from last year due to limitations on accommodation in the holy city as construction of new projects is still under way.
Pilgrims have been pouring through the Haj Terminal at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport at a rate of 60,000 a day over the past week, according to airport officials. Ships, mainly from Sudan, have also been drawing up at Jeddah Islamic Port, delivering thousands more African pilgrims each day.http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article184592.ece