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Road 9, a major new thoroughfare in Jerusalem whose inauguration was held up by environmental concerns, will be opened in the coming days, offering motorists entering the capital much-needed relief, officials said on Tuesday.
The road will connect the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway directly to the city's Begin Highway, bypassing the congested entrance to the city.
Mayor Uri Lupolianski has asked that the road be ready this past spring, at the start of celebrations marking 40 years of a united Jerusalem, but an appeal filed by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel held up the opening.
The SPNI argued that required environmental work in and around the highway had not been completed. The Jerusalem District Court agreed that fencing work to prevent animals from entering the road must be completed before the road could be opened.
According to an accord reached on Tuesday, the municipal company building the road and the Jerusalem Municipality will commit in writing to a timetable for carrying out repair work for landscape and environmental damage caused by the construction, while the Nature and Parks Authority will be authorized to decide when the nearly-finished fencing work has been completed, SPNI official Shaked Avraham said.
Yehoshua Mur-Yossef, the spokesman for the Moriah Construction Company, which is a subsidiary of the Jerusalem Municipality, said Tuesday that the road would be opened "in the coming days," possibly as early as Thursday.
The half-billion shekel highway will run 3.5 km and include three bridges and two tunnels.
Road 9 will allow motorists from Tel Aviv to reach south Jerusalem's Malha Mall or Teddy Stadium without encountering a single traffic light.