Light rail project goes off track

The Ministry for Environmental Protection is demanding that the new electricity lines be shielded to prevent them from issuing dangerous radiation.

February 17, 2008 13:05
1 minute read.

The Tel Aviv light rail project is grinding to a halt in Sderot Yerushalayim because of a dispute between the Israel Electric Company and the Ministry for Environmental Protection, reports Yediot Tel Aviv. The high-voltage electrical lines that currently run under the road must be moved overhead to make room for the train tracks, and the ministry is demanding that the new electricity lines be shielded to prevent them from issuing dangerous radiation. But the NIS 7 million it will cost to shield the lines is proving to be an obstacle that is sending sparks flying between the sides. According to the report, the light rail planners have known for several years that the 1.9 km of high-voltage electrical lines that run under the road will need to be moved. They plan to place new lines 3.5 meters overhead, which, if left unshielded, would result in local residents being exposed to seven times the amount of radiation recommended by the World Health Organization. The Ministry for Environmental Protection, which introduced new laws against radiation in 2007, is insisting that the lines be shielded. But the electric company says it should not have to pay the NIS 7 million it will take to shield the lines because its plans to move them were drawn up before the new laws took effect. The report said the sides are planning an inter-departmental meeting of specialists to discuss the issue and reach a decision. "We are taking the position that there is a real need to provide this protection," a spokesman for the Ministry for Environmental Protection said. "To our sorrow the issue is being checked as cost versus efficiency … This protection is extremely important, but they are insisting the cost is too high." An Israel Electric spokesman said the company believes that "future exposure levels will be very low" and that the company is doing everything possible to meet the planned timetable for the project.

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