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‘Death trap’ crater in residential neighbourhood sparks safety call

Bahrain News
Sun, 14 Jan 2018
By Razan Alkhair


CONCERNS have again been raised about a giant crater that has blighted a residential neighbourhood for the past eight years.

The 30,000sqft crater, the result of excavation work for a university that was never completed, was in 2016 branded a potential death trap.

A new fence has been erected around the location and leftover debris cleared as a temporary fix, according to area councillor Abdulla Ashoor.

However, he said it was time for a permanent solution.

“We’ve followed up with the Northern Municipality and parties concerned and a new fence was installed around it as a temporary solution,” he said.

“However, we don’t want a temporary solution.

Solutions

“I hope there will be another project in 2018 to replace it (the university originally planned), which will act as an attraction for residents and also consider traffic safety, since the area is surrounded by multiple buildings causing a traffic crisis.

“Otherwise, I hope the crater will be filled in and reconditioned.”

The location, near Riyadat Mall in A’ali, was originally earmarked as the site of a new campus for the now-defunct Delmon University for Science and Technology.

Excavation work started in 2009, but was halted in January 2010 after more than 160 neighbours signed a petition against the campus.

Opposition was based on concerns about extra traffic, since the area also hosts the Arab Open University, Philippine School, two buildings belonging to Al Falah School, Riyadat Mall and a government social centre.

The university, which previously operated in Manama, was offered an alternative location for the new campus – but had its licence revoked in October 2013 following a grade-fixing scandal.

Previous attempts to cordon off the site have proven unsuccessful, with strong winds blowing down wooden fencing erected around the crater.

One Bahraini, who works in the nearby Riyadat Mall, said he feared for the safety of children – particularly as it was near a school.

“The hole is causing stress in the neighbourhood because of its depth,” he said on condition of anonymity.

“We are worried about our children, especially as it is located near a school.”

Another mall employee, who also asked not to be named, acknowledged the new fence, but suggested additional measures to make sure no-one can access the abandoned worksite.

“Maybe they need a higher cover around the area with no openings in between so no-one can get in,” she said.

The crater is located on land owned by the government and a nearby resident complained that it detracted from the area’s overall appearance.

“This is a sophisticated area,” said the Bahraini, again on condition of anonymity.

“The crater gives the neighbourhood an unpleasant image.

“There are many stylish villas and buildings, but the desolate site takes away from the area’s beauty.”