Makkah: The temporary bridge around the Kaaba will be removed by May 27, according to the committee overseeing the expansion of the Grand Mosque.
Bakri bin Matouk Asas, director of Umm Al-Qura University and chairman of the committee, said Tuesday that the mataf, the circumambulation area around the Kaaba, only allowed 48,000 pilgrims an hour during the expansion.
With the bridge removed, it would accommodate 107,000 pilgrims, he said.
Dismantling the temporary bridge around the Kaaba began on April 06, 2016. Three weeks following the start of work, the executing company has dismantled about 60 percent of the temporary mataf bridge, according to Sultan Bin Atti Al-Gurashi, head of the department of projects at the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques.
Al-Gurashi said the fourth stage would be completed this week, adding the entire makeshift bridge will be demolished in eight stages ending on May 27.
Gurashi explained that the eighth and final stage would include the demolishing of all the bridges leading to the mataf area consisting of King Fahd bridge, Bab (door) Al-Umrah bridge, King Abdul Aziz bridge and the Masaa bridge.
He said work is proceeding according to schedule with 80 Saudi engineers, who are highly qualified, supervising the project 24/7.
Gurashi said the demolishing of the temporary bridge, which was erected about three years ago, was safe and smooth.
“No pilgrim or visitor has been injured by the falling debris which are collected and transported to a warehouse outside the Grand Mosque,” he added.
Gurashi said on the completion of the project, work on the construction of the Ottoman porticos, which was delayed by the small mataf area, would immediately start.
He said all the doors of the Grand Mosque would be open for use by the pilgrims and visitors during Ramadan and the Haj to facilitate their entry and exiting.