Experts tell Knesset c’tee: Bridges in good shape

Transportation and infrastructure professionals promised that no Israeli bridges are going to collapse.

Light rail Bridge of Strings (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Light rail Bridge of Strings
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Transportation and infrastructure professionals promised that no Israeli bridges are going to collapse, during a discussion on the subject in the Knesset’s State Control Committee on Tuesday.
The committee members and relevant government officials were discussing the bridges in the aftermath of a State Comptroller’s Report on Netivei Israel, the Israel National Roads Company.
Over the course of the meeting, company representatives promised that no bridges will be falling and that any that are in danger of malfunction will be repaired immediately.
Recognizing that Netivei Israel is one of the country’s most important government companies, Committee chairman MK Amnon Cohen (Shas) said he saw a significant improvement in the firm’s operations but also stressed that the company must streamline its activities for better transparency.
“The company should ensure the purity of its tenders, and during this period of deficit we must ensure efficiency and not waste public money,” Cohen said.
“While the cut is in every pocket, government companies must be strict about every shekel.”
Deputy director-general of the State Comptroller’s Office Tzvi Virticovsky meanwhile criticized the company for allowing retired employees to work on an outsourced basis for Netivei Israel, while the firm has failed to provide tenders for additional workers in these positions.
Praising the firm for the improvements it has made, Keren Turner, deputy director-general of the Transportation Ministry, noted that Netivei Israel has been transformed from simply an “auxiliary unit” to a functioning government company.
The company works in conjunction with the Transportation Ministry, and no project receives approval until it has gone through a necessary international tendering process, Turner explained.
“Today, the collaboration with Netivei Israel is much better,” said Ami Rothman, from the National Road Safety Authority. “We determine together with them the risk points and road maintenance problems.”
Admitting that the company is still “learning,” as it was only established in 2004, Netivei Israel CEO Yeshayahu Bers said that the firm is tracking its deficiencies and repairing them swiftly, and is operating in a transparent manner.
Only isolated deficiencies have been identified in the hundreds of projects that the firm carries out for the government, he noted.
Meanwhile, the company gives scores to outside contractors based on the quality of their work.
“Deficiencies will be corrected, they will not be repeated, and those responsible will be punished,” said Netivei Israel deputy CEO Michael Kopilovsky.