The Jamaraat Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in Mina, Saudi Arabia near Mecca used by Muslims during the stoning of the devil ritual of the Hajj. The bridge was originally constructed in 1963, and has been expanded several times since then. The purpose of the bridge is to enable pilgrims to throw stones at the three jamrah pillars from either the ground level or from the bridge. The pillars extend up through three openings in the bridge. Until 2006 the bridge had a single tier (i.e. a ground level with one bridge level above). At certain times, over a million people may gather in the area of the bridge, which has sometimes led to fatal accidents. “Jamaraat” is the plural of jamrah which is the Arabic term for each of the pillars involved in the stoning ritual. It literally means a small piece of stone or a pebble
Following the January 2006 Hajj, the old bridge was demolished and construction began on a new multi-level bridge. The ground and first levels were complete in time for the 2006/2007 Hajj, which passed without incident. Construction on the remaining two levels have been completed since December 2007 1428 AH Hajj. The new bridge (designed by Dar Al-Handasah and constructed by the Bin Laden Group) contains a wider column-free interior space and expanded jamrah pillars many times longer than their pre-2006 predecessors. Additional ramps and tunnels were built for easier access, and bottlenecks were engineered out. Large canopies are planned to cover each of the three jamrah pillars to protect pilgrims from the desert sun. Ramps are also being built adjacent to the pillars to speed evacuation in the event of an emergency. Additionally, Saudi authorities have issued a fatwa decreeing that the stoning may take place between sunrise and sunset, rather than at the mid-day time that most pilgrims prefer.