As economies around the world slowly reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia is showing the way forward with the energetic, yet cautious, renewal of activities across the kingdom.
KSA’s construction sector is back in action, following a nearly two-month lull brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. Many large-scale projects have resumed, most notably the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, which had ceased due to the necessary health and safety measures implemented across the holy site on March 25.
Stage 3 of Grand Mosque expansion continues
In a press statement issued in mid-May, the KSA government announced that the expansion work at the Grand Mosque will continue, but COVID-19 precautions would still limit the visitor count at the Grand Mosque. The Agency for Projects and Engineering at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque issued licenses to the relevant contractors to continue Stage 3 of the project.
According to latest reports, Stage 3 includes the construction of the main gates, installation of artificial stone ceilings and completion of arches overlooking the courtyard. The USD 10.6 billion project aims to add 32 hectares to the Grand Mosque’s area.
Visitor capacity will increase by 300,000. Planned works will also include integral support features, such as advanced electromechanical systems, fire safety networks, hygiene and water treatment facilities, and sound systems comprising 4,524 headsets.
In its press release, the government indicated that it would green-light the remainder of the pending construction work at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, while implementing all necessary health protections at the work sites.
Diriyah Gate giga-project breaks ground
Another major construction venture that has resumed in Saudi Arabia is Diriyah Gate, which will transform the historic city into KSA’s premier cultural and heritage destination. Developers broke ground on one of its key neighborhoods, Bujairi Square, in mid-June.
Spanning 7 square kilometers and costing USD 17.1 billion, Diriyah Gate will feature more than 20 luxury hotels, over 100 restaurants, a range of museums and art galleries, a Formula-E racetrack and a 15,000-seat arena. Upon completion, Diriyah will be home to 100,000 residents and visitors and is expected to attract 25 million tourists every year.
With the heartening progress of its construction sector, KSA looks forward to a prosperous post-COVID-19 future, marked by vibrant tourism and a thriving local economy.