Last week, the Knesset Finance Committee instructed the Transportation Ministry to transfer the remained of the budget intended for construction of the Callatrava Bridge to other purposes. The Callatrava Bridge is a crucial part of the light rail project. According to the Finance Committee, this is because the full amount of money allocated to the project for the current fiscal year has not been utilized. A spokesman for the committee revealed that construction of the bridge has been held up for technical and legal reasons and is therefore behind schedule. The funds will apparently be transferred to Tel Aviv, to finance its transportation projects. Shmuel Elgrably, spokesman for the light rail project, said that he "doesn't know what all the excitement is about." According to Elgrably, "This is a routine procedure by government ministries. At the end of the fiscal year, they check to see if any money is left over, and, if it is, they transfer it to other budget lines. Otherwise, they simply have to give the money back to the Finance Ministry." Construction of the massive Callatrava suspension bridge, which will be known as the Bridge of Strings because of its harp-like shape, was begun some two months ago. According to Elgrably, the construction is not behind schedule, and, despite court cases currently pending against the construction, work is continuing. The cases have been brought by various residents' groups, who object to the project. "The Courts have instructed [the project] not to construct anything higher than one meter above the ground. We are intending to build steel columns that will reach down at least 30 meters into the ground in order to bear the 4,300 tons of steel that will make up the bridge. So there's no problem, and the work is continuing as normal," Elgrably said. He further added that at this time, the work is focusing on the acoustics and the level of noise that the digging for the columns will entail. In the end, Elgrably promised, the full amount of money - totaling NIS 135 million, 15 percent of which will be funded by the municipality - will be utilized completely.



More about:Tel Aviv, Knesset

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