Makkah, — The new mataf bridge around the Holy Kaaba opened for pilgrims on July 25. Only disabled and elderly pilgrims will be allowed to use the circular bridge that can hold 7,000 wheelchair-borne pilgrims per hour.
“Since the bridge would be set apart for weak, infirm and disabled pilgrims, the movement of able-bodied pilgrims below on the ground floor will become easier as that area will be free from wheelchairs that used to clutter in an already crowded area,” said the Haj Ministry’s spokesman Hatim Qadi.
He told that the bridge is one of the kind, as it’s made of special alloy which is more durable and has more lifting power than the steel. It doesn’t make noise, either, which is another advantage for pilgrims on wheel-chairs.
The bridge is 13 meters high and 12 meters wide. According to Mr. Qadi, this is the first stage of the project: the second stage will begin on August 15 when the Umrah season is over. Another floor is to be agged on the top.
The Central Haj Committee, chaired by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, reviewed the arrangements made to ensure the security and comfort of pilgrims. The governor urged public and private agencies to extend the best possible services to the guests of God.
The expansion undertaken at the orders of King Abdullah with the aim of increasing the comfort and safety of pilgrims. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj and Umrah Studies prepared a study on how to implement the expansion project. The study recommended using the available space and potential of the mataf to the maximum while maintaining the architectural features of the Grand Mosque using advanced technology.
After the completion of the mataf expansion work, its capacity will increase to 105,000 pilgrims per hour. The capacity fell to 22,000 pilgrims per hour during the expansion period from 48,000 pilgrims.
The planned capacity of this zone is planned to increase up to 105,000 pilgrims per hour, Besides, they planned to reduce the number of columns within the framework of reconstruction — 30% less on the first floor and 75% less on the second floor.