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The city of Agadir: Urban development, a rejuvenation

Rachid Amadan

With an amount of more than 5.9 MMDH, the Agadir UDP (Urban Development Program) will soon complete its first year of implementation. Several projects are already being implemented in accordance with the agreed deadline. Out of 94 projects enrolled in the UDP, the Local Development Corporation (LDC) Agadir Souss-Massa

After Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech, Al Hoceima and the Southern provinces etc., it is Agadir’s turn to benefit from urban development programmes (UDP). This request, long awaited by economic operators and especially tourism, was materialized thanks to the signature, in February 2020, in front of King Mohammed VI, in place Al Amal of Agadir, Framework Agreement relating to the urban development programme of the City of Agadir.

The launch of this program for the period 2020-2024 comes more than three months after the Royal Speech delivered on November 6, 2019, on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Green March, where the king has placed Agadir in the geographical centrality of the kingdom and two years before the launch of the regional version of the Industrial Acceleration Plan (IAP) for the period 2014-2020.

The UDP, which will require more than 5.9 MMDH, will soon complete its first year of implementation. It is structured around 6 axes, namely the realization of the first line of the high-level bus service of the city of Agadir, the strengthening of infrastructure and the decongestion of the city in addition to the urban development and the impetus of the tourist area.

In addition, the preservation of the environment & development of green spaces, cultural promotion and enhancement of heritage and places of worship in addition to the strengthening of basic social facilities and improvement of the living environment.

Agadir UDP: 94 projects to be carried out by 2024 on the ground, it is clear that several projects are already managing to materialize according to the conventional deadline. In figures, out of 94 projects enrolled in the UDP, LDC Agadir Souss-Massa Aménagement will carry out 76 projects, representing more than 80% of the program’s project portfolio.

In this respect, five projects have really been launched, including the development of city entrances, the creation and upgrading of a reading network, the strengthening of public lighting, the upgrade of Mohammed V Avenue and the start of the installation of the integrated video surveillance system.

By Q1 2021, the goal is to launch more than half of the projects delivered by LDC Agadir Souss-Massa Aménagement, while nine projects are currently being awarded. For the rest, 10 projects, mainly under the last three axes, will be carried out by the company Al Omrane, while the LDC Grand Agadir for mobility and urban travel is in charge of launching the first HLBS line in Agadir.

For their part, the Regional Development Corporation (RDC) of tourism in addition to the Ministry of Equipment and the Habus will ensure the realization of two projects for each under this UDP. The Ministry of Health is responsible for a single project, namely the construction and equipment of the psychiatric hospital.

1st axis/HLBS: the Trambus Amalway arrives the first high-level bus (HLBS) line in Agadir becomes reality. The Local Development Corporation (LDC), following the start of the Network Clearing Works and the launch of the civil works contract for the HLBS First Line Project Grand Agadir for mobility has just launched the call for tenders for infrastructure works for this first line, in particular the first batch for the so-called priority sector. This area covers Mohammed V Avenue through General Kettani Boulevard, up to Hassan II Avenue (Kamra Junction).

This priority section is spread over a length of 3.9 km. It has 10 stations, an average length of 370 metres. The contract is expected to be awarded in February 2021, when the estimate for this lot is 144 MDH. This contract includes the infrastructure works for the HLBS platform, including the multi-tubular, civil engineering and station coatings, road works and existing façade-to-façade landscaping.

Once completed, this first line should generate an estimated daily traffic of 60,000 travellers. They will be transported daily by about 35 High level bus service (HLBS) with an hourly range from 6 am to 10 pm. This first axis structuring the public transport network covers the entire city of Agadir on a north-South-east, connecting the port of Agadir to the districts of Tikiouine and serving many generating poles, such as the Administrative Center, Avenue Hassan II, Souk El Had, Avenue Hassan I, the University Pole, Al Houda City, Tassila Industrial Zone and Tikiouine Center.

2nd axis: decongesting and urban development it goes without saying that this is one of the axes where work is already started, in particular the start of the development of the entrance of the city via Bensergao on 4.7 Km. Recall, the three entrances of the city of Agadir in this case, Bensargao, Anza on a 6.6 km linear and Tikiouine on 2.2 km will be remangated.

Projects also underway include upgrading Mohammed V Avenue in addition to the September 2020 start-up of enhanced street lighting and the installation of a portion of the integrated video surveillance system. Also, as part of this axis, the city of Agadir will have its first underground parking. The call for tenders for this project was launched by Agadir Souss-Massa Aménagement.

It will be entrusted in January. The project is expected to take place in the future Al Inbiâat Park, which will cover an area of 25 hectares. According to the LDC Agadir Souss-Massa Aménagement, which is the project owner, the estimated cost of the services was set at 80.5 MDH.

Consisting of two basements, this underground parking will have 600 spaces with an esplanade to develop on 11.500 m². As part of the development/widening of a series of avenues and boulevards in the city, the first phase, including the development of boulevards Moulay Abdellah, Crown Prince and Al Mukaouama, is already underway.

The other tranches will concern, among others, the avenues President Kennedy, Haj Ahmed Akhannouche, Omar Khayyâm and Hassan II etc. In the case of the North-East Agadir bypass project, the project is also in the implementation phase, following the awarding of this project by the Ministry of Equipment.

This project, the cost of which is 770 MDH, will be spread over 29 km, with a cross-section of 2×2 lanes. As part of this development, eleven specific works, such as the overpasses and underpasses, as well as the bridges and hoppers, will be carried out, while the work is expected to be completed in March 2023.

The Equipment will also have to carry out the upgrading and development of the expressway, connecting the port to the airport. Also, in the framework of this axis, it is previewed the development of the east-west bar on 10 km, in addition to the rehabilitation and strengthening of the street of proximity in different neighborhoods of the city. This is the first tranche that concerns the city center through the development of 147.400 m². For the 2nd and 3rd instalments, they concern the Talborjt district on 227,100 m² and 17 districts with a development of 2 million m².

3rd Axis: One of the projects most awaited by tourist operators is the stimulation of the tourist and seaside area of Agadir. In addition, the redevelopment of the corniche with the creation of four thematic poles, including a commercial, playful, cultural and sports sequence. This project, along with other projects, will have to start in 2021, in accordance with the conventional deadline. Among the projects expected is the upgrading of the bird valley with its urban and landscaped redevelopment. A hopper will also be built near this park.

The development of this whole area will have to be accompanied by the development of green spaces, the reinforcement of urban furniture, the development of sports and recreational equipment of proximity in addition to the construction of the Timitar museum. Other projects are planned, In particular, the construction of the Tourist Information Office and the Beach Administration Complex in addition to the development of the traffic pattern and roads of the tourist sector of the city which is currently in the planning stage

4th axis: Environment & Green spaces The UDP of Agadir foresees the realization of several projects within the framework of this axis, starting with the development of the park Ibn Zaidoun, located in the city center of Agadir during the auction. The same applies to the development of green spaces in Bensargao, Tikiouine and Anza.

Nevertheless, the most anticipated project under this axis is the realization of the Al Inbiâat park in 2021 on a total area of 25 ha. With an esplanade to be developed on 11.500 m², the Al Inbiâat park will also include the rehabilitation of the covered room Al Inbiâat.

The park’s urban and landscaping will also include sports fields, restaurants and underground parking. Other projects are scheduled for 2022, including the rehabilitation of the Olhao garden and the upgrading of the Lalla Meryem garden in addition to the rehabilitation of the gardens in the Charaf and Taddart districts. In addition, the development of several green spaces in the Anza district, including its cornice, is planned for Q1 2021. Public spaces will also be built in Hay Mohammadi, Al Houda and Tilia as part of this environmental preservation and green space development.

5th axis: culture, heritage and places of worship as part of the cultural promotion and presentation of heritage and places of worship, The UDP of Agadir has already activated the development of the Agadir Kasbah and its surroundings in addition to the development and lighting of the national emblem, planned from the year 2021.

Among the most advanced components of this axis, the realization and equipment of 23 reading points including 17 light constructions, 6 points that will be rehabilitated and equipped in addition to a Bibliobus. Of the 23 items planned under this component, the development of five reading points is already underway as part of the first phase of this project.

In addition, this axis also includes the construction of the information resource centre and the media library of the city of Agadir on 3,000 m² covered at the level of the Al Inbiâat park. This central media library will be the head of the reading network. In the same area, the area will also see the construction of the Grand Theatre in addition to the rehabilitation of the green theatre.

Furthermore, the construction of the Amazigh Heritage Museum on 2,200 m² covered in 2021, the development of the Place du Souvenir with an area of 3,000 m², in addition to the development of the Promenade du Souvenir (Old Yachaech, Founty, Talborjt) with a garden while keeping the historical configuration of the old town of Talborjt, before the earthquake.

This axis also provides for the rehabilitation of the former headquarters of Bank Al-Maghrib as a museum of the reconstruction and the Memory of Agadir by Al Omrane, as well as the rehabilitation of old buildings of the city in places of culture, alluded to the Sahara cinema, The contract is being awarded.

The Dome of Agadir will also be transformed into a cultural and gastronomic center with the rehabilitation of the facade of the Conservatory of Music and the rehabilitation of the old places after earthquake of Agadir: place du Prince Héritier, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville and Place du Marché and Rialto Cinema.

In addition to the construction of a cultural centre in the Founty district, the construction of a religious, administrative and cultural complex in the same district and the construction of the Salam mosque have already begun.

6thaxis: living environment and social facilities One of the components already delivered under this axis, concerns the realization of 20 local fields with the development of skateparks and basketball fields, as part of the second phase of this project.

Currently, reflection is also being conducted on the management of these spaces within the framework of a public-private partnership. In 2021, the area adjacent to the Agadir stadium will be given a large covered hall with a capacity of 3,000 seats. In addition, five covered rooms were built in the Al Houda, Hay Hassani, Tikiouine, Anza Centre and Anza Al Ouliya districts, as well as a multi-purpose room in Ryad Essalam and the rehabilitation of three covered rooms: Al Inbiaat, Zerktouni and Al Qods.

Four swimming pools will also be built under this axis at Bensergao Wifaq, Hay Mohammadi, Bensergao Aghroud and Al Houda. For the urban upgrading of the under equipped districts of Tikiouine, it is being auctioned.

This axis also includes the construction of four primary schools and four secondary schools in addition to the replacement and extension of classrooms and the creation and development of four socio-cultural and sports centres.

Besides the rehabilitation of the central municipal market of Talborjt, this axis also includes the realization of a women’s home and a youth house in Ryad Essalam, the construction of two youth health spaces, Anza and Talborjt in addition to the construction and equipment of a Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Diagnostic Centre (TRDDC) as well as the construction and equipment of an Agadir day clinic and a psychiatric hospital. Other projects include the construction of the fish market and restaurants in Bab Al Marssa and the development of the Tikiouine souk and its surroundings and the relocation of scrap dealers.

Despite all these efforts, the local population remains skeptical about meeting deadlines given the very slow pace of crossings underway. Add to that the rerun of certain crossings that were deemed inappropriate. But, according to some civil society actors, local authorities do not communicate well about this large-scale project. Relevant technical remarks are also recorded in relation to the closed lanes, especially at the Avenue Hassan II, which present a risk of traffic jams at the time of major traffic flows. The observers wonder, in this respect, what would be the solution in case of collision (seen their frequency) on the mentioned lines!

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