Israel-Egypt border highway plans approved

The District Planning and Construction Committee has approved plans for the paving of a 30-kilometer stretch of the highway that runs along the Egyptian border between Nitzana and Pit'hat Hashalom, reports The plans were prepared by security forces in conjunction with the Eshkol and Ramat Hanegev regional councils, the two councils through which the road runs. According to the report, the stretch of highway is part of the 182-kilometer Highway 10 along the Israel-Egypt border. The report said the affected section was closed off more than a year ago by security forces, but local farmers began a campaign of protest against their being prevented from using the road. It said that as a result the security forces, at the initiative of the two regional councils, drew up plans for a new route for the section. The Nature and Gardens Authority and the Israel Lands Authority were also parties to the plans. Ramat Hanegev regional council head Shmulik Rifman welcomed the committee's decision, saying that Highway 10 was an "important transport artery" for civilian as well as security purposes. The report said security forces would assist in the building of the road as part of their activities to prevent illegal border crossings.