Drivers shun toll road on day of first test

Drivers say new toll road which opened last week caused a bottleneck for incoming traffic to TA, making the regular gridlock even worse.

TA traffic_311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
TA traffic_311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Sunday was a disappointing day for the new toll lane at the entrance to Tel Aviv, which officially opened on Friday, but experienced its first real test with major traffic on Sunday.
Despite a capacity to service 1,500 vehicles per hour, the new road carried only 900 vehicles during morning rush hour and mere dozens took advantage of the Park and Go shuttle service. Prices for travel on the toll ranged from NIS 6-8.
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While the toll lane, which stretches for 13 kilometers, between the Ben-Gurion and Kibbutz Galuyot interchanges, was for the most part empty, with travel time measured at seven minutes, travelers on Highway 1, the public road leading into the city from the east and the south, experienced aboveaverage volume and slowerthan- usual travel speeds.
Drivers complained that the toll road, which takes up a whole lane at the entrance to Tel Aviv, caused a bottleneck for incoming traffic, making the regular gridlock even worse.
One of the purported reasons for construction of the lane was that it would relieve Highway 1 of much of the daily commuters, who would choose to pay for fast access to the city. The toll is differential, with the price increasing depending on the volume of traffic on Highway 1. Estimates are that prices will fluctuate between NIS 6, during off-peak house, and NIS 25, during the morning rush hour.
Accountant-General Shuki Oren announced on Sunday that public officials would not be allowed to pay for use of the new toll lane out of the Treasury coffers. Oren said that the new lane was meant to provide a route for public transportation and encourage car-pooling and that state employees had to lead by example.
Public officials who contravened the instruction would be forced to reimburse the state for the use and would face disciplinary actions, he said.