Saudi Binladin Group (SBG)has started work on the Jamarat bridge facilities expansion project in Mina, following the long-awaited award of the contract. Estimated to be worth at least SR 4,000 million ($1,067 million), the expansion is aimed at increasing the capacity of the bridge to 500,000 pilgrims an hour from 80,000.
SBG was the low bidder for the contract, offering a base price of SR 4,800 million ($1,280 million) and an alternative offer of SR 5,400 million ($1,440 million). Three other local companies priced the contract in late 2004 (MEED 26:11:04). The project is aimed at easing congestion among pilgrims as they pass the Mina site, where stones are thrown at pillars representing the devil. The elliptically shaped structure will have five storeys and a network of 12 access and 12 exit ramps. Each storey will be 85 metres wide and 10 metres high. The bridge's decks will encircle the pillars, allowing pilgrims to cast stones from several levels. The project will be carried out in four phases and will take four years to complete. Construction will stop during Hajj. The redevelopment of the bridge is being managed by the King Fahd Hajj Institute and involves religious and technical experts. Engineering design is being carried out by the London office of Lebanon's Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners). The client is the Municipal & Rural Affairs Ministry (MEED 26:11:04). www.meed.com/construction