Arava crash 224.88.
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Years after earning the notorious title "The Red Road" and following several recent tragic accidents, Route 90 - also known as the Arava Highway - is finally headed for serious renovation work.
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz on Monday announced the allocation of NIS 125 million for the project and instructed the National Road Safety Authority to begin the work within two months.
Mofaz, top Transportation Ministry officials, traffic police commanders and National Road Company (NRC) officials all convened in the minister's office, where they weighed the options for revamping the road.
The option the forum has chosen will deal with the entire length of the Arava Highway - 171 kilometers from the Arava junction to Eilat.
The renovation will include repaving the road, widening the shoulders and installing reflectors between the lanes. Guardrails will be put up at several points along the road, and rest stations will be built at 45-km. intervals. The no-passing zones of the road will also be extended in an effort to prevent head-on collisions.
Mofaz instructed his office to publish tenders immediately regarding the different aspects of the project so the work could begin in two months.
Traffic Police were ordered to increase vigilance on the roads; road signage will be upgraded as well.
Transportation Ministry officials could not say how the renovation work would be funded, but suggested it might be taken from the ministry's road-maintenance budget for 2008.