Mataf expansion phase-3 under way
The third phase of the King Abdullah Project for the expansion of the mataf, the circumambulation area around the Kaaba, began this week.
Contractors have removed several old structures between the Safa hillock and the central area facing the King Fahd expansion site.
Sultan Al-Qurashi, project manager at the Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, said the third phase of the project includes construction at King Abdul Aziz Gate with minarets over it and three floors covering a total area of 81,567 square meters.
He said work is under way to move chandeliers, decoration lights, fans and amplifiers, which will be packed and kept in a special warehouse.
Barriers would soon be placed on the top floor, first floor and the basement to ensure the work takes place smoothly, Al-Qurashi said.
He said the southern square of the mosque between the Safa hillock and King Abdul Aziz Gate would be partially cordoned off for demolition and construction activities.
However, the first phase of the project would be opened for worshippers. The entrance to the mataf would be from the western side of the mosque on the ground floor of the King Fahd expansion site and on the eastern side through Al-Salam Gate at the masaa, the area of running between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa. The project includes plans to restructure the area between the mosque and the location of the Third Saudi Expansion, providing direct access to the entrance to the mataf and the wheelchair tracks.
There would also be bridges constructed to link the newly expanded mataf and the building of the Third Saudi Expansion at the levels of the first floor and the roof. The government is exploring the possibility of adding four more floors in future and a mechanized circumambulation facility, in addition to shading over the mataf and the roof.
The project also includes the installation of Zamzam water supply and automated collection of garbage and removal of dust on all the new floors. There will be firefighting systems, rainwater drainage, extension of power connections, electricity stations, telephones, entrance control, intercom systems, lighting, sound systems, closed-circuit cameras and clocks in the expanded area, he said.