No solution to Causeway jam in sight

Updated 28 February 2014
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No solution to Causeway jam in sight

The traffic police have not been able to reduce the congestion on the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia with Bahrain during holidays and other peak times, a source in the department said Monday.
The source said the traffic department was genuinely concerned about the situation. It has raised the issue with other government agencies.
"Many proposals and suggestions were made to higher authorities to find a radical solution to this problem. If they are approved, they will play a significant role in solving this problem," he said.
Over 239 million commuters have used the causeway since it was opened in 1986 until the end of 2012. In 2012, over 18 million people used the bridge.
He said there is usually traffic congestion on the bridge from about 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.
"During holidays, special events or Eid, the traffic department gets additional police cars to regulate the movement of vehicles on the causeway."
During these peak times, traffic officers issue around 90 fines a day, including 20 for parking violations.
He said that the traffic police also have a problem with illegal taxi drivers transporting people between the two countries. Officers arrest on average six people a day for these violations.
He said the traffic fines issued to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens are sent to their countries where they have to pay them. An electronic system for fines would soon link all GCC countries, which would help streamline this process, he said.
Arab News reported last month that the Saudi Ministry of Interior is considering a joint border control system with Bahrain to reduce congestion on the causeway. This would entail a traveler stopping only once when entering or exiting both countries.
This came in the wake of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) accusing the Passport Department and the Eastern Province traffic authority of not having sufficient personnel on the bridge to prevent bottlenecks. The traffic police had rejected the accusations and blamed the Passport Department for the delays.
Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, director general of the Passport Department, said a ministerial team has been studying procedures between the United Arab Emirates and Oman that eased commuting by road between the two countries.


Ecotourism project protects wildlife, promotes jobs in Saudi Arabia

Wadi Al Disah is located in the north-west of Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve and southwest of Tabuk. (Supplied)
Updated 49 min 51 sec ago
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Ecotourism project protects wildlife, promotes jobs in Saudi Arabia

  • The Wadi Al-Disah Development Project will promote economic diversification and create investment opportunities for the private sector

JEDDAH: A major sustainable tourism project that will promote jobs while protecting the local environment and wildlife has been launched by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve in the Kingdom’s northwest.
The PIF on Tuesday announced the launch of the Wadi Al-Disah Development Project, which is expected to become one of the Kingdom’s most environmentally diverse tourist attractions thanks to the site’s moderate climate, distinctive mountainous terrain and flowing springs.
The fund will establish a company to develop the project in accordance with international best practices regarding environmental conservation and sustainable development.
The new company will contribute to the creation of sustainable tourism and related job opportunities, supporting the Kingdom’s economic diversification and unlocking new assets in Saudi Arabia.
The announcement of the project follows the launch of the Amaala luxury tourism development in September, which will be the focal point of the tourism ecosystem within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve.
The location, between NEOM, the Red Sea Development Project, Amaala and Al-Ula projects, will ensure a diverse and unique tourism offering, and offer a compelling investment opportunity for the private sector.
Wadi Al-Disah is situated in the northwest section of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve, southwest of Tabuk.
The word “Al-Disah” means a valley of palm trees. The surrounding mountains and rock formations are expected to be popular with climbers of all levels. Other attractions include archaeological sites such as facades of Nabataean tombs, and the remains of walls containing Nabataean and Arabic writings in Kufic script.
The Wadi Al-Disah Development Project will promote economic diversification and create investment opportunities for the private sector.
The project aims to contribute to the development of the tourism sector in the Kingdom, preserve cultural and environmental heritage, and achieve sustainability in line with Vision 2030.