Tunnel work breaks new ground

Excavation work on the third tunnel in the NIS 1.2 billion Carmel Tunnels project has been completed, and digging work on the fourth and final tunnel is expected to be finished over the next two months, project managers have announced. The new tunnel, at 3,200 meters, is the longest in Israel, and it and the parallel fourth tunnel will enable vehicles to travel underneath Mount Carmel from the Carmel beach to the Grand Canyon shopping mall in the center of Haifa, reports www.local.co.il. According to the report, project manager Haim Barak said the work had been completed by two teams digging in from opposite ends of the tunnel, who made a "very precise connection." Barak said the excavation work had proceeded slowly and carefully because of the type of soil involved. He said about 110 meters of earth still remained in the fourth tunnel, and excavating this would take about two months. The report said that at the same time that excavations were continuing, work was being done in other parts of the project to complete bridges and access roads and build the tunnels' infrastructure, including ventilation, monitoring and lighting systems and a control center. The massive project, being built by the Carmelton company, will eventually result in two double sets of tunnels passing across Haifa underneath Mount Carmel. The completed first two tunnels, each 1,650 meters long, run from the Grand Canyon mall to the Checkpost intersection. When the tunnels open to traffic, a toll of NIS 5 will be charged for each leg (NIS 10 for the entire length of the tunnels in one direction).