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Construction in downtown Amman ‘further hindering businesses’

By Maram Kayed - Nov 13,2018 - Last updated at Nov 13,2018

Shop owners lament that the construction, scheduled to last five months or more, will deprive them of ‘at least half a year’s work’ (JT file photo)

AMMAN — The construction work in downtown Amman, which commenced around two weeks ago, angered shop owners who claimed it is the cause of a sharp decline to their already-troubled businesses. 

The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) said that the lane widening of roads is part of the plan to make downtown Amman “more accessible to people”.

GAM spokesperson, Mazen Farrajeen, said that the municipality has allocated around JD300,000 for the project, which entails opening new roads, repairing sidewalks, installing new street lights and organising new spots for buses and taxis, among other initiatives.

“As of now, downtown Amman cannot cope with the large numbers of daily visitors and that is indeed the purpose behind the whole construction works underway."  

"The project will definitely make the situation for cars and pedestrians much easier in the future," GAM’s executive engineer Nemeh Qatnani said, acknowledging however the difficulties and disruption that the transformation process is causing business owners, especially those whose shops are located on roads undergoing construction.

“We met with GAM before the construction started to voice our concerns, but they moved ahead with the process anyway without taking the necessary steps to ensure that people can still visit our shops,” said Abu Yaqeen Smadi, a shop owner.

"They [the GAM] made detours for the cars but they did nothing for the sidewalks. People obviously cannot enter our shops if there are no sidewalks," Hadi Obeid, another shop owner, said.

The construction, which according to Qatnani may last five months or more, “will deprive shop owners of at least half a year’s work, which may run some people out of business”, pointed out Smadi.

Qatnani, who described the owners’ concerns as “premature and over exaggerated", said the GAM is working on finishing the sidewalks first so that affected shops can resume their businesses as soon as possible.

“We need shop owners to be patient. The new look for the area will reflect positively on their businesses in the future. It is just a matter of time,” Qatnani said. 

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