The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has reported that work started yesterday on expansion of the Jamarat terraces, involving demolition of parts of the existing structure prior to building a new and larger configuration that will facilitate pilgrim movement. The area of Jamarat on the plain of Mina is the site of one of the main rituals of the Hajj, where Muslims stone the devil during the annual pilgrimage. The project is expected to be completed on schedule two months before the 1425 Hajj, which is in mid-January of 2005.
The Jamarat basin will be expanded from its current circular shape to an oval to allow better access to the pillars. The project provides for separate access and departure routes; currently pilgrims approach and leave the site by the same route. The new structure will have an electronic system to direct and control the movement of pilgrims, with an alert to notify pilgrims in the tents spread across the plain if crowds at the site or on the access roads reach critical levels. The Saudi company that is undertaking the project will train employees in the operation and maintenance of the control and guidance systems and in directing movement.