The Jamarat Bridge Project: An exceptional achievement of
The Jamarat are three sites located close to each other on a straight line in Mina. Pilgrims stone the Jamarat as a sign of obedience to God. Stoning of the Jamarat is one of the duties of the Hajj and follows the example of the Father of Prophets Ibrahim Peace Be Upon Him.
In response to the huge increase in the numbers of pilgrims year after year, the Saudi authorities sought ways to remove the obstacles created by the increasing crowds at the Jamarat and thereby enable the pilgrims to perform their rituals with ease and in a safe way.
The first Jamarat Bridge was built in 1975 in order to facilitate the stoning ritual by providing two levels for pilgrims carrying out the ritual, one beneath the bridge and another on the bridge itself. However, as pilgrim numbers continued to increase, this bridge became incapable of handling the huge numbers of pilgrims. Consequently, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia decided to demolish it after the Hajj season of 2006 and to replace it with a new multilevel structure capable of accommodating greater numbers of pilgrims and thereby facilitating stoning of the pillars in a safe and effective manner.
The new Jamarat Bridge is 950 meters long and 80 meters in width and consists of five levels, each of which is 12 meters high. To facilitate movement, the bridge has 12 entrances and 12 exits, distributed among all four directions, in addition to emergency exits. This will enable authorities to accommodate 300,000 pilgrims an hour for stoning.
The structure is equipped with surveillance cameras throughout which are in constant operation, and which are used to pinpoint areas where fast intervention and provision of emergency medical assistance is necessary. Finally, the Jamarat Bridge facility also includes two helicopter pads for emergency use.
In order to provide a more pleasant environment for pilgrims, the Jamarat Bridge project also includes an air conditioning system accompanied by water sprinklers, capable of lowering the air temperature to around 29 degrees Celsius.
On the fifth floor of the bridge, huge awnings have been constructed which cover all three Jamarat areas, thereby enabling pilgrims to perform their rituals easily and to protect them from the oftentimes fierce sunlight.
Construction of the Jamarat Bridge took several years, and all precautions were taken so that work did not interfere with the rituals performed every year by the pilgrims.
It is worthy of note that the Jamarat Bridge project was designed with future needs in mind also, as it can be expanded to a total of 12 levels capable of accommodating more than 5 million pilgrims. In 2008, it was awarded the Makkah al-Mukarramah Prize for the best project serving the needs of pilgrims.