If you heard a blast in central Tel Aviv on Friday morning, there was no reason to be concerned.The the iconic Ma’ariv Bridge was demolished Friday at 6:23 AM to make room for construction of the Tel Aviv Light Rail’s first line.
Police stood by as the public stood behind barricades at a safe distance and observed the explosion that took down the overpass.
The explosion was followed by cheers from the crowd.
Earlier in the week, police were already closing streets around the bridge, which takes traffic from Menachem Begin Street over the junction with Lincoln, Carlebach and Yitzhak Sadeh streets.
Streets around the demolition site were closed to traffic, including Menachem Begin Street north from Harakevet Street, and southbound from David Hachami Street; Hamasger Street and Yitzhak Sadeh in the direction of the junction; Yehuda Halevi Street; and the area around Beit Rubinstein. Public transportation lines running in that area have been diverted to a section of Hamasger Street.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz symbolically detonated the explosives affixed while an engineer activated the actual explosives.
Dedicated in 1976, the overpass has become a local landmark and an icon of the central Tel Aviv landscape. It was named for the headquarters of the Ma’ariv newspaper, which occupied the corner of Carlebach and Menachem Begin for decades until the paper was sold in 2012 and later vacated the premises.
The demolition will make way for a light rail station at the site as part of the construction of the Red Line – the first in the new rail system – which began earlier this month.