(photo credit: Courtesy)
Nestled among trees and the gurgling stream below, four new bridges have taken
their places along the Yarkon River, enabling continuous walking and biking
throughout Tel Aviv, Hod Hasharon and Petah Tikva – a triumph that was
celebrated in a dedication at one of the bridges on Monday
Next to one of the bridges, located near the Concrete House in
Petah Tikva, the already-operating foot and bike overpasses were inaugurated in
the presence of Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, mayor of Tel
Aviv-Yafo and chairman of the Yarkon River Authority council Ron Huldai, Jewish
National Fund chairman Effi Stenzler, Southern Sharon Regional Council chairman
Moti Delgo, Petah Tikva Mayor Yitzhak Ohayon, Hod Hasharon Mayor Chai Adiv and
Ramat Hasharon Mayor Itzhak Rochberger.
“This is like a revolution
because until now, until these bridges were constructed, the only way to get
across the river was to either get your feet wet or go up one of the bridges
that was part of the highways, leaving the park,” Yarkon River Authority head
David Pargament told The Jerusalem Post
earlier that day.
“Now there are
four bridges and you can do circular routes – all the possibilities are
multiplied by several factors,” he continued.
The bridges are designed in
such a way that rather than appearing as notable monuments, they blend into the
scenery around them, according to Pargament.
“You don’t see these bridges
until you’re 15-20 meters away,” he explained. “It was very important for us to
maintain the atmosphere.”
The architects responsible for designing the
four overpasses made this idea central in their construction
“The idea is that they will be integrated into the surroundings
and are designed to be placed in close proximity to the stream, so that they are
embedded into the route,” said Erez Lotan, from Lotan Landscape Architecture, in
“The bridges are designated for pedestrians and cyclists
only, and are made from concrete primed with a hydrodynamic structure, and they
are designed to withstand river flooding. The simplicity comes from the notion
that the work doesn’t want to steal the show from the river, and the natural
landscape. The main goal is to create a continuum for the many travelers
visiting the area on foot or by bicycle.”
While the bridges have now been
open and operating for six weeks, the process to get them underway was far from
simple, Pargament told the Post.
“The process starts with the decision to
build the bridges – that’s about six years ago,” he said.
After holding a
competition, the authority chose its architect and began surveying and deciding
which spots would be most suitable for the bridges, according to Pargament. Only
then did they begin applying for permits to start building, which was often
complicated and took about four-and-a-half-years, as many of the bridges had
their two ends in different municipalities.
“In the last year since we
have the building permits, we’ve been raising the funds to build the bridges,”
he said, noting that these funds – NIS 2.1 million – predominantly come from the
JNF and the Israeli Government Tourist Corporation, around half from
“It’s finished, it’s done, it’s completed,” he said, adding with
great relief, however, that the walkers and cyclists that pass through seem to
be quite pleased with the results.
“I congratulate the architects,
planners and implementers of these bridges on complex work and impressive
results,” JNF’s Stenzler said in a statement, crediting JNF Australia as
particularly responsible for his group’s contributions. “Naturally, the river
crosses many municipal authorities and stakeholders. The Yarkon
illustrates wonderfully how cooperation between many bodies yields great