Plans are underway to connect Saudi Arabia’s holy sites by monorail to facilitate transportation for Hajj pilgrims, the Arab News reported today. The $1.9 billion project involves building monorails in Makkah, Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat.
A monorail is a single rail, generally elevated, that is used as a track for passenger or freight vehicles. A key advantage is that monorails do not obstruct traffic on the ground, and they are environmentally-friendly.
The monorail proposed for the Makkah-area project would have four to eight carriages and can transport 20,000 passengers an hour – nearly 800,000 pilgrims during the Hajj. The project also includes parking facilities so that pilgrims can park their cars at the entrance of Makkah and then board the monorail.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the Ministry of Transport and the Higher Commission for the Development of Makkah and Madinah have all reviewed a study of the project and welcome it. The study was prepared by the International Transport Projects Company, which is now contacting Saudi authorities to obtain the appropriate license to implement the project.
The Makkah-area monorail is expected to be completed in four years. A similar project is under consideration for Madinah.