Wild animals to cross safely on new ecological road
Project to build ecological corridor at the Sha'ar Hagai interchange will cost government about NIS 2.5 billion.
Ibex near Ein Gedi Photo: Joe Yudin
Wild animals will soon be able to safely cross bustling Route 1 when the Israel
National Roads Company completes work on an ecological corridor at the Sha’ar
As part of the overall plan to upgrade the
Jerusalem-Tel Aviv thoroughfare, the company said it aims to ensure that animals
dwelling in the surrounding woods are able to securely pass from once side to
the other. In doing so, workers began construction on Sunday of one of the
largest such ecological corridors of its kind – which will in the end have a
width of 70 meters, according to the company. Establishing this bridge will make
Route 1 one of the greenest highways in all of Israel, the firm
“Upgrading Route 1 will improve the flow of traffic in one of
Israel’s major arteries, and will allow tens of thousands of workers to pass
through traffic and get to Jerusalem safely and quickly,” said Transportation
Minister Israel Katz.
In preparation for constructing the eco-bridge, the
National Roads Company performed necessary area clearings together with the
Israel Nature and Parks Authority and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National
Fund. The design for the project occurred with the assistance of many
consultants, landscapers, environmentalists and architects, the company said.
Construction will occur throughout the next two weeks and should not interfere
with vehicular traffic.
The large amount of design creativity invested in
this project will make it possible to integrate crucial transportation needs
with the unique natural characteristics of the region, National Roads Company
CEO Shai Beres said.
In addition to erecting the ecological corridor for
animals, the firm is implementing many other improvements on the highway. The
new Route 1 will have three lanes on each side and will double in width – to 45
meters – and will also have fewer sharp curves, the company explained. Workers
will be rebuilding Hamad and Harel junctions, as well as adding an interchange
at Neveh Ilan, installing lighting, refurbishing drainage systems, filling in
slopes and restoring landscape, the firm added.
All in all, according to
Katz, the project will establish a new system of bridges, tunnels and
interchanges at an expanse of 16 kilometers, and will cost the government around
NIS 2.5 billion.