J'lem rail gets initial approval for extension
Additional nine kilometers of track will serve southwestern neighborhoods, reach Hadassah Ein Kerem.
Jerusalem light rail Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
The Jerusalem Municipality announced on Wednesday a plan to extend the light
rail to service Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
project will make the entire light rail 22.5 kilometers long, up from the
current 13.8 kilometers, and serve approximately half a million people living
along the tracks.
The plan to extend the light rail to Jerusalem’s
southern neighborhoods was approved by the Local Planning and Building Committee
on Wednesday. The public will now have an opportunity to file objections to the
plan, which still needs approval from the District Planning and Building
Committee, part of the Interior Ministry.
Once all the permits are
secured, construction will last at least five years. Although the project has
not received final approval, infrastructure work is already under way on the
road from Mount Herzl to the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood’s monster statue and at
Hadassah Ein Kerem itself.
The Jerusalem transportation master plan is
working with the hospital to build the light rail station inside the hospital
while the building is still under construction, in order to minimize
The train will be built in two stages: first, from Mount
Herzl to the Ora intersection, which is expected to take approximately three
Once that part is completed, construction will begin on the second
stage from Ora to Hadassah Ein Kerem. Though this section is significantly
shorter, it will take at least two years because the road to the hospital is
windy and steep.
Eventually, a third section of the light rail between
the northern Pisgat Ze’ev and Neveh Ya’acov neighborhoods will be submitted for
approval. The final stage of the light rail plan is for a “university line” that
will run between the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus and Givat Ram
Jerusalem transportation master plan spokesman Shmuel Elgrabli
hailed the approval as an important step in Jerusalem’s “transportation
revolution.” He added that they are in negotiations with operator CityPass over
the additions. While it is unlikely that another company would take over
administration of part of the line, the Jerusalem transportation master plan,
the city and the Transportation Ministry have expressed extreme disapproval over
CityPass’s handling of certain issues relating to the train, especially the
thousands of passengers who were fined after purchasing faulty
Elgrabli added that the light rail would replace the plan to
widen the road leading from Hadassah Ein Kerem to Kiryat Hayovel, because it can
carry such a large number of people. Bike paths are a possibility along
the light rail from Har Herzl to Kiryat Hayovel, though Elgrabli said the
approval of the paths depends on the local council.