Jerusalem light rail may face additional seven-month delay

Originally set to begin operating in 2007, could be delayed until next November if the builder’s request for more time gets the nod.

Jerusalem light rail on bridge 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Jerusalem light rail on bridge 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Yet another delay is looming in the commencement of Jerusalem’s light rail, with CityPass, the company constructing the project, requesting seven more months to finish planning traffic lights and test drives.
Originally slated to start operating in 2007, the project is now scrambling to meet an April 7, 2011 deadline, but CityPass’s request means the light rail would begin working only next November.
The city of Jerusalem and the Transportation Ministry see absolutely no justification for the delay, Shmuel Elgrabli, a spokesman for the project, said on Monday.
The first arbitration meeting on the dispute took place on Sunday. Sources say the trains will most likely begin running around the summer, even if the entire project still needs finishing touches at the time.
In related news, “dynamic tests” will commence on the Bridge of Strings Monday night, with trains moving on it at speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour, carrying sandbags weighing as much as 500 passengers. Just over a month ago, “static tests” allowed the engineers to measure weight and stress on the structure.
On Sunday, the city will begin paving the first 12 kilometers of the 107-km. bicycle path network. The initial segment will be in the Mount Scopus area, to serve the Hebrew University students who use bikes as a means of transportation.