The Transportation Ministry and the Israel National Roads Company have embarked
upon on a NIS 2.5 billion project to overhaul a large chunk of Highway 1 – the
main traffic conduit between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the ministry announced on
The road upgrades are will affect the section of Highway 1
that stretches from Sha’ar Hagai to the entrance of the
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz revealed the details of the
plans – including new bridges, tunnels and interchanges – at a work site
briefing on Wednesday alongside Shai Beres, CEO of Netivei Israel, the Israel
National Roads Company.
Calling the project one of the most important
plans of the Transportation Ministry today, Katz stressed that upgrading Highway
1 will improve the flow of vehicles in one of Israel’s most significant
According to the plans, the road will be expanded into three
lanes in each direction along this 16-km. stretch, and will feature improved
safety, with the addition of wider shoulders and the elimination of sharp turns
and steep climbs, the ministry said.
An extensive system of new bridges
and tunnels, as well as three new interchanges in Neveh Ilan, Hemed and Harel
are critical aspects of the project.
The old Harel bridge, built decades
ago, will be eliminated, and in its place will be two 700-m. tunnels that pass
under the Harel ridge. Near the new Harel interchange will be a
public-transportation terminal serving passengers traveling to both Jerusalem
and Tel Aviv, the ministry explained.
The upgrades have plans to get rid
of a dangerous portion of the road around Motza and instead to establish two
threelane bridges of 800 m. in length that will crop up above Emek
“The expansion of Highway 1 into three lanes and the elimination
of dangerous curves at Motza will enable tens of thousands of commuters to pass
by traffic jams and reach Jerusalem quickly and safely,” Katz said.
began several months ago on the Sha’ar Hagai- to- Shoresh stretch of the Highway
1 upgrade, and little disturbance to traffic has occurred during the process,
At Sha’ar Hagai, workers are constructing a special
ecological corridor that allows animals dwelling in the surrounding woods to
cross safely from one side of the highway to another.
renovation process two lanes will remain open in each direction on the highway,
Beres explained. In order to minimize traffic jams during the massive
construction project, however, road workers will be enhancing an alternative
route – Highway 443 – serving as a second main artery into Jerusalem while the
Highway 1 overhaul is occurring, the ministry said.
The Highway 443
upgrade includes the addition of a third lane along several sections of the road
exclusively for public transportation use, as well as a third public transport
lane at all traffic light junctions between Shemen interchange and Maccabim
interchange, in both directions.
Many intercity bus lines that travel to
Jerusalem on Highway 1 will travel on Highway 443 instead, in order to reduce
the traffic load and shorten the duration of the trip, said the ministry. As a
portion of Highway 443 crosses through the West Bank, additional inspection
booths, as well as designated public transportation lanes, will be added to the
Ofer and Maccabim checkpoints.
Near Mitzpe Modi’in will be a
park-and-ride facility, first with 500 parking spaces and then with an
additional 1,800, allowing travelers from the South and Highway 6 to park their
cars and take special shuttles to Jerusalem instead, the ministry said. A tender
for the operation of these shuttles is to be issued in the coming
Egged line 100, which connects travelers from the Shapirim
park-and-ride lot to Jerusalem, would continue to operate, and the relevant
authorities are to examine the possibility of extending the line’s route to
additional portions of Jerusalem.
Currently the bus only stops in the
National Precinct – home to the High Court of Justice, the Knesset, the Israel
Museum and a few other points in that region. A direct train line from Tel Aviv
to Jerusalem is planned to run mornings and evenings, cutting travel time from
80 to 65 minutes.
All the infrastructure upgrades will be accompanied by
a massive media campaign to inform drivers about the changes, as well as to
encourage them to take advantage of the alternative routes provided, the