Muhammad Hadhdad and Abdul Aziz Ghazzawi
JEDDAH — After more than 25 years of service, the Briman Bridge has been put into retirement. The Ministry of Transport has started demolishing the bridge. Traffic using the bridge has been diverted to a parallel pathway until the new bridge is completed.
The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in seven months. The new bridge will be 7.5 meters high to allow for clearance of the express train linking Makkah and Madinah and the new road to the holy city.
A number of senior officials from the Ministry of Transport, the Traffic Department and the Jeddah Municipality supervised the shifting of traffic and the beginning of the demolition.
As expected, some bottlenecks were caused by cars coming from districts in east Jeddah going to the west. A large number of traffic policemen were stationed to organize traffic.
Brig. Muhammad Al-Qahtani said the shifting of traffic from the Haramain Expressway to the parallel pathway started at 2 P.M. He said the committee assigned to supervise the shifting of the traffic closely followed the situation to make sure that traffic flow was smooth. He said all safety measures including warning signs were placed for the road users to see.
Al-Qahtani however did not dismiss the possibility of bottlenecks because a large number of vehicles were using the Briman Bridge from east to west and vice versa. He hoped that commuters would understand the present situation and would fully cooperate until the new project was completed.
“We have prepared to deal with the possible congestions by shifting the traffic between east and west Jeddah from the Briman Bridge to Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz (Al-Tahliya) bridge and also to the two crossings of the Haramain Expressway,” he said.
Al-Qahtani said there were standing instructions by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah region, and Prince Misha’l Bin Majed, Jeddah Governor, to be ready and prepared for all new projects.
“Jeddah has been turned into a big workshop to accomplish hundreds of development projects during the coming few years. This makes it imperative on all the citizens, government department and the private sector to cooperate fully until these mega schemes are completed,” he added.
The demolishing of the Briman Bridge will lead to the closure of all its ramps in addition to the traffic light parallel to the airport fence. Motorists will have to take a longer route to get from east Jeddah to the west.
People coming out of east Jeddah should take the Haramain Expressway from the north until the bridge of the Air Base then return on the same direction. They may also go west through the Airport bridge and the Madinah road before coming back to the Haramain road. Those going to the south can take the eastern road which is parallel to the Haramain road until the Palestine bridge.