New toll routes aim to cut congestion in Haifa, TA

New toll lane expected to carry between 1,600-2,000 vehicles per hour. If travel speeds fall below 26 kph, drivers will be reimbursed.

By RON FRIEDMAN
November 24, 2010 03:58
3 minute read.
Traffic (Illustratory)

TA traffic_311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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In the upcoming weeks two new toll roads are to open, one in Haifa and one in Tel Aviv.

The first project, which will begin operation on December 1, is the Carmel Tunnels project. The project is made up of two sections: a 3.2-kilometer dual-lane tunnel stretching from the Carmel Beach to the Ruppin Junction in the middle of Haifa, and a 1.65-km tunnel stretching from Ruppin to the Check Post.

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A trip from one end to the other is estimated to take roughly eight minutes during normal traffic. Planners estimate that 50,000 vehicles will use the tunnels daily. The speed limit will be 80 kph.

The tunnel toll will be NIS 5.7 per vehicle, per direction. Trucks will pay NIS 28.5 for the same trip. Motorcyclists will be charged the same as private vehicles.

People who choose to use the tunnels will be required to register for a subscription, but payment will be collected either in toll booths at the entrance to the tunnel or automatically by an electronic identification pass. Payment can be made in cash or by credit card.

Drivers who hold subscriptions for Route 6 will not have to take a separate subscription for the tunnel. An agreement between the two companies will enable direct billing through Route 6’s operating company.

The project was designed as a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project, with Carmelton, a company jointly owned by Ashtrom and Shikun Ve’Binui. Carmelton was given the license to build and operate the tunnel for 32 years before handing it over to the government.



Building the tunnels took three years and the whole project cost an estimated NIS 1.25 billion.

The second project, whose opening date has not been set but is expected to be in early January, is a new toll lane on Route 1 stretching for 13 km from Ben-Gurion Airport to the Kibbutz Galuyot interchange at the entrance to Tel Aviv.

The new route will enable public transportation vehicles, carpoolers, vehicles with handicapped certification and drivers who are willing to pay a fluctuating toll to bypass the near constant traffic jams at the entrance to the city.

Users of the route will also have access to a “Park ‘n’ Go” facility situated next to the Shapirim interchange, halfway into the route, where they will be able to park their vehicles and be provided with free shuttle service into Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan.

The cost of travel on the new lane will fluctuate depending on the volume of traffic at any given time. The minimum price to use the lane will be NIS 7, with the operating company estimating that the maximum price, during morning rush hour will be NIS 25. The current price for private vehicle use will be posted on electronic message boards at the entrance to the lane.

The number of riders in a vehicle that will be approved as a carpool and given free passage also fluctuates depending on traffic volume, between a driver plus three and a driver plus four.

Like the Carmel Tunnels, the new rapid lane is also a BOT project, with Shafir Engineering licensed to operate it for 27 years. The cost of the project is estimated at more than NIS 500 million.

Though construction is not yet complete, the company has opened its subscriptions office and drivers can subscribe for free to use the service. Only vehicles that have subscriptions will be allowed to enter the lane. Drivers who want to make a single trip will have to pay at the Park n’ Go station.

It is estimated that the lane will carry between 1,600-2,000 vehicles per hour. If travel speeds fall below 26 kph the drivers will be reimbursed.

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