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‘Gov’t to revamp Mudawara-Maan Highway after deadly accident’

By Omar Obeidat - Mar 21,2016 - Last updated at Mar 21,2016

AMMAN — The government is seeking to secure funds to rehabilitate the Mudawara-Maan Highway that links the southern part of Jordan with Saudi Arabia, an official said Monday. 

Anmar Khasawneh, secretary general of the Ministry of  Public Works and Housing, told The Jordan Times that the cost of rehabilitating the 120-kilometre highway is estimated at over JD120 million, while this year’s budget of the ministry is only JD80 million. 

On Tuesday, Maan Mayor Majed Sharari called on the government to revamp the highway in the southern governorate, where five days ago a deadly traffic accident took place, leaving 16 Palestinian pilgrims dead and 34 others injured after their bus overturned.

The Palestinian passengers were heading to Hijaz in Saudi Arabia to perform umra (the lesser Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca). 

Sharari told The Jordan Times that thousands of visitors and pilgrims take the Mudawara-Maan Highway from and to Saudi Arabia, adding that the road needs urgent rehabilitation and strict traffic rules to put an end to accidents, which he said have killed hundreds of passengers over the past years. 

Khasawneh agreed that the road needs to be repaired, but said it needs tens of millions of dinars that the ministry cannot afford, and the ministry is currently working to secure funds from a donor country.  

“It is among the ministry’s priorities, and hopefully we will be able to bring finances to fix it,” the official said.

Khasawneh pointed out another highway –– the desert road –– that needs to be rehabilitated due to its current “bad shape”.

He added that after funding for the 220-kilometre highway from the Saudi Fund for Development, the rehabilitation project is expected to start soon. 

The project’s total cost is $170 million, divided into a $65 million grant signed last November and a $105 million soft loan.

 

The desert road extends from Amman to Aqaba and passes through Karak, Tafileh and Maan.

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