JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Friday 4 January 2013
Last update 5 January 2013 4:43 am
Works on mataf (circumambulation area around the Kabaa) expansion is being stepped up, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper reported.
The second floor of the eastern side has been completely removed, while equipment and machinery have been deployed in the cleaning process.
Engineers and workers have begun installing wood planks around the mataf. The area surrounding the isolated space has been expanded to ensure the safety of worshippers against any objects falling from the upper floor.
The company executing the project has doubled the number of cranes to seven and installed giant cranes 100 meters in length at the eastern masaa in order for the equipment to reach the higher floors of the masaa (the path between the hillocks of Safa and Marwah).
The pace of work accelerated with the beginning of the Umrah season, and to complete construction before the next holy month of Ramadan as the number of pilgrims and visitors doubles.
Expansion plans involved taking advantage of the eastern part of Mataf expansion during the Umrah season, after which the project will stop for four months for the Haj season. The company will resume construction in Muharam (November).
Observers following up the project said that the current time frame is enough to complete expansion works in the eastern part, as work is progressing with some 2,000 men working around the clock at the old hallway and the first Saudi expansion to reach a unified level of the Grand Mosque floors with that of the current dish of mataf. With this, the area of mataf will extend by 20 meters.