Residents seek official intervention as road project remains stalled for years

The expansion work for the road to Al-Khansa district in Makkah has faltered for more than seven years. — Courtesy Al-Madinah

Saudi Gazette report

— The expansion of the main road passing through Al-Khansa neighborhood in Makkah has stalled for more than seven years and the residents are asking the concerned authorities to intervene to end their predicament.

According to a number of residents, the road, which is 1.7 km long and 32 meters wide, was to be expanded at a cost of SR50 million but the contractor has not done anything about it yet.

They said as many as 148 residential properties were earmarked for demolition and their owners compensated but nothing has been done so far to complete the road.

Khaled Al-Jasim, one of the oldest residents in the neighborhood, said the stalling of the expansion project has created constant congestion on the road, resulting in a number of traffic accidents.

"We often rely on alternative routes to reach our work places and return home after work. It takes us a lot of time," he said.

Jasim called for punishing all those who are behind the delay of the implementation of the project and said it has become a real problem for people to reach the neighborhood or get out of it.

Hussain Al-Malki, another resident, said not only the execution of the project was delayed beyond schedule but the large number of cement blocks and ditches made the road impassable as well.

He expected the government bodies concerned with control and accountability to take the matter seriously and to question all those who are responsible for stalling this vital project.

Hussain Al-Bigali, a Saudi living in the area, said the stalled road project has made their life miserable as accessing the neighborhood has become a difficult task especially during peak hours.

"We often get bogged down on this road for hours while going to work and on our way back home," he said.

Bigali said ambulances and fire trucks find reaching Al-Khansa district and getting out of it extremely difficult. "This might result in deaths and injuries that are avoidable," he warned.

Abdullah Humaid Al-Qurashi, mayor of Al-Maabdah district through which the road passes, said the road was of particular importance as it led to the Grand Mosque.

"There is no justification whatsoever for delaying the road project particularly because hundreds of vehicles use it every day," he said.