King Salman announced new projects under the third expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca on July 12, 2015. New developments will eventually increase the capacity of the facility to accommodate 1,850,000 worshippers.
The Saudi Third Expansion of the Grand Mosque, which was launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is considered an extension of the previous historical expansions first initiated by late founder King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman and completed by late kings: Saud and Faisal, followed by the expansion of the eastern parks which have been implemented during the era of late King Khalid, followed by the expansion of the mosque from the western side during the reign of late King Fahd, followed by the Massaa (circumambulation passage) expansion which took place during the era of late Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and then the grand expansion ordered by late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and will be completed during the current era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
A report, issued by the Ministry of Finance, explained that the third grand expansion of the Makkah-based holy mosque includes major components: the holy mosque’s main expansion building, the Massaa expansion which has already been opened and the expansion of the circumambulation path, the external parks, flyovers, stairs, complex of central services building, services tunnel, security buildings, the hospital, pedestrian-use tunnels, transportation stations, bridges leading to the mosque, first ring road surrounding the holy mosque area, and the infrastructure which includes power stations, water reservoirs and flood drainage system.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has dedicated five major projects as follows: the holy mosque’s main expansion building, the external parks, pedestrian-use tunnels, central services building and first ring road. A number of projects will remain: they are the Mataf (circumambulation) with its appliances and affiliates, the stairs, the security buildings, the hospital, a total facility that will bring the capacity of the grand mosque to 1,850,000 worshippers.
The report said the total building area amounts to 1,470,000 sq.m., the area of the expansions will reach 320,00 sq.m. to accommodate 300,000 worshippers while the area of the premises amounts to 175,000 sq.m. to make room for 280,000 worshippers.
The bridges and flyovers’ area amounts to 45,000 sq.m. to carry 50,000 worshippers, the area of the services building is 550,000 sq.m. which will accommodate 310,000 worshippers. The area of the eastern stairs will be 263,000 sq. m. that is enough for 150,000 worshippers.
The Masaa area was increased by 57,000 sq.m. to accommodate 70,000 worshippers, with the capacity of the mosque increasing from 44,000 person/hour at the circumambulation path to 118,000 person/hour.
The Mataf area was increased by 60,000 sq.m. to accommodate 90,000 worshippers where the total capacity of the Grand Mosque after completion of all projects will accommodate 1,850,000 worshippers.
The report highlighted that this expansion is considered the largest expansion in history where the latest construction and modern systems techniques are used.
The report pointed out the tunnels, where the length of pedestrian and emergency tunnels are 5,313 linear meters, tunnels of electricity and services are 1,922 linear meters and tunnels of sewage with diameter of 2800 mm are 4,643 linear meters.
The report pointed out that the project contains advanced electro mechanical systems, including sound systems with a total of headphones with 4,524 headset in addition to systems of fire alarm and hygiene.
Requirements of the radio and television are provided through rooms and areas for installation of the equipments, cameras and antennas in addition to provision of new radio and TV studio at the services building with 44 cameras. There will be new control cameras where some of the cameras will use ‘IR illuminator’ system in order to operate in cases of emergency with total number of cameras (6,635 cameras).
The report highlighted the security buildings where there will be four security buildings with accommodation of more than 18,000 personnel.
The Mataf before the expansion received 50,000 person/hour and 188,000 worshipers with area of 150,000 sq.m.
After the expansion, the Mataf will receive 107,000 person/hour and 278,000 worshippers with area of 210,000 sq.m.
The report points out that the first ring road consists of surface roads, bridges and tunnels (existing and new).
The project includes a construction of water treatment line with diameter 1,000 mm and a length of about 30 km to feed the central services complex. ”