x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Saudi Arabia approves $16.5bn transport plan for Mecca

Plan to upgrade transport in the holy city will include a bus network and a 182km metro system.

The Holy Sites metro light rail in the western Saudi city of Mecca was opened in 2010. Expansion plans will include four metro lines stretching for 182 kilometres with 88 stations.
The Holy Sites metro light rail in the western Saudi city of Mecca was opened in 2010. Expansion plans will include four metro lines stretching for 182 kilometres with 88 stations.

JEDDAH // Saudi Arabia has approved a 62 billion riyal (Dh60.7bn) plan to modernise the transport system in the holy city of Mecca, including building a bus network and metro system, the state news agency, SPA, reported yesterday.

Four metro lines of a total length of 182 kilometres will be built across the city, with 88 stations.

Construction for the transport project will be carried out over about 10 years, the report said, without giving details of when it would start or how companies would bid for contracts.

More than six million visitors from across the world visit Mecca every year for the Haj and Umrah pilgrimages. The influx has strained its narrow roads and transport system.

Last year, the city's mayor said that within six years the government hoped to build new roads and foot bridges near the Grand Mosque.

Other long-term projects around the mosque include building hotels, malls and cafes. Developments in the suburbs include housing estates and a park for residents who have been made to relocate from the city centre.

Saudi Arabia is also spending billions on upgrading the transport system in the capital Riyadh and on a high-speed rail line connecting Mecca with Medina.