Israel's roads are treacherous. These are the changes working to stop that

A newly-signed agreement outlines the parameters of an expansion for the tolled highway, including new lanes and reduced tolls for heavy vehicles in the wee hours of the morning.

 Public transportation in Israel. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Public transportation in Israel.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Would you rather sit in traffic due to a lack of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes or due to roadside construction?

Great news for those who commute on Highway 6: You may soon be able to do both. In an effort to reduce some of Israel’s notorious road congestion, Israel has signed a government-approved agreement with trans-highway franchisee Derech Eretz and government company TransIsrael to allow for the expansion of Highway 6.

The expansion, set to be constructed between 2024 and 2028, will include a series of new HOV lanes between interchanges: a lane in each direction between Kesem and Ein Tut, a fourth lane between Kesem and Iron and a third lane from Iron to Ein Tut. Altogether, the newly added lanes will stretch more than 120 kilometers.

"Since I took office I have announced that I intend to turn the pyramid upside down and prioritize public transportation and cooperative travel and the Negev and the Galilee, and this is what I am doing.”

Transportation and Road Safety Minister Merav Michaeli

Additional project details include the construction of a new interchange near Beit Nehemia and a fee reduction of 50% for vehicles over four tons between 3 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. to encourage heavy goods vehicles to use the roads during the early hours of the day when fewer commuters are present, thereby relieving traffic congestion.

Minister of Transportation, Merav Michaeli seen during a visit at a train station in Tel Aviv on June 16, 2021 (credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)Minister of Transportation, Merav Michaeli seen during a visit at a train station in Tel Aviv on June 16, 2021 (credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)

Michaeli weighs in 

“The expansion of Highway 6 is a significant step for the economy and passengers, which will save valuable time and streamline road services for the citizens of Israel,” Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman said. He touted the project as one of “a series of infrastructure projects that the Finance Ministry is carrying out through the private sector.”

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli praised the new HOV lanes.

“Since I took office, I have announced that I intend to turn the pyramid upside down and prioritize public transportation and cooperative travel and the Negev and the Galilee, and this is what I am doing,” she said, adding that the expansion is “big news for residents of the North and for those traveling by public and cooperative transportation.”

Public transportation may be the way to go for now, as gas prices remain high despite a drop of NIS 1.5 per liter at the beginning of August. Gas purchasers can still expect to spend quite a bit at the pump, however, as heavily taxed gas helps the state fund construction projects such as the Highway 6 expansion.