1,500 Turks Work to Build 4-Storey Bridge in Mina
By Anadolu News Agency (aa), Beirut
Published: Monday, March 13, 2006
The Saudi administration has begun work on a new bridge to replace the bridge that claimed the lives of 365 pilgrims during the hajj ritual stoning of the devil.
The Bin Laden group was awarded the $1.2 billion bridge construction project by the Saudi Arabian administration.
The company given official authorization to build the four-storey bridge reached an agreement with several Turkish subcontractors to cooperate in building the new devil-stoning bridge in Mina, Mecca.
The Laden group and the Turkish subcontractors formerly worked together on numerous constructions in Mecca and Medina.
The old two-storey bridge was demolished immediately after the Hajj period.
At the construction site, 1,500 Turks will be among the 4,000 workers building the bridge.
First, a two-storey bridge will be constructed in the area allocated for the devil stoning.
Next year, the two-storey bridge will be open for use during hajj, and later, another two-storey bridge will be added to complete the construction.
The project also contains a tunnel on the lower ground floor of the four-storey bridge.
Three million pilgrims will be able to perform the religious stoning of the devil in one day, company officials said.
The upper most level of the bridge will be covered with awnings to protect the crowd in the hot weather, officials said.
The pilgrims will be able to enter each floor through different doors from Mina and Mecca. And they will follow the same path back to Mina and Mecca after they are completed the religious ritual.
Vehicle traffic in the area allocated for the devil-stoning in Mina will be directed through underground passages to end the usual confusion in Mina, where there will be no vehicle access.
Two helicopter landing platforms will be available for emergencies.
The first bridge was built in Mina in 1975. Hundreds of pilgrims have died in stampedes that occurred as the number of candidate pilgrims increased over the years.