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All roads lead to Makkah. 23/4/04
A major contract, issued by the Saudi Arabian High Commission for Development in Makkah and designed to deal with the huge movement of traffic in the Makkah area, is nearing the end of the planning stages.

The multi-million dollar project which is expected to take from between 3 and 5 years to complete, will see the building of a complete multi-modal network in the mountains facing the Haram area of Makkah - the central location for pilgrims attending the Hajj.

"The two week Hajj attracts around two to three million pilgrims each day," said Samir El-Hage, an Engineering Director with the Beirut-based ATT Group who are acting as consultants to the scheme. "There is a need for a modern transport system capable of dealing with the movement of about 65,000 buses every 24 hours in Haram and around 24,000 pedestrians every hour at the neighbouring Jabal Omar Development project."

The first stage of the project has been to conduct traffic modelling to see how the flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic can best be achieved. The next stage is expected to include detailed planning of the ITS support systems.

"There is no central control point and the movement of the pilgrims and traffic has been in the hands of the Directorate of Hajj Security For Traffic Matters," said El-Hage. "They have based their decisions on experience built up over several years. But the number of pilgrims keeps growing and what is now required is a more sophisticated system, including the use of ITS technology, that will make best use of the available space and deal with the problems of public transport, parking, security and so on."

The Saudi authorities are understood to be considering an extension to the number of visitor visas granted for travel to Makkah which would effectively result in some 12 million visitors to the City throughout the year for Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage).

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For further information contact:
Samir El-Hage, Engineering Director, ATT Group, Beirut. Tel: #961 1 273675, Mob: #961 3 721393, E-mail: