Knesset panel vows to examine Highway 1 expansion

If talks between area residents and National Roads Company fall through, State Control Committee may look into the residents’ claims.

traffic jam highway 1 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
traffic jam highway 1 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Residents of the Jerusalem suburbs along Highway 1 were successful in their attempt to halt the planned expansion of the highway, which they claim will exacerbate, rather than relieve traffic, and cut off entrances to their neighborhoods, forcing 200,000 residents to enter and leave their homes through a single intersection.
In a meeting with the Knesset State Control Committee, committee chairman Yoel Hasson (Kadima) suggested the residents and the semi-public National Roads Company meet for a round-table discussion to address some of the residents’ issues. If the sides cannot come to a satisfactory conclusion, Hasson will recommend that the State Control Committee look into the residents’ claims.
The residents have also appealed to the High Court of Justice for a stop-work order, which will be heard in September. “The state decided on a certain path for the highway, and made this decision even though they knew all of the consequences,” said Hasson at the conclusion of the meeting.
“On the other side, during the process, did they really consider the opposition or alternatives? Did they take into account the interests of the groups that will be affected?” he asked.
MK Nahman Shai (Kadima) slammed the NIS 5 billion proposal for spending large amounts of money without taking the residents’ concerns into account. “The state is investing billions of dollars here in a plan that’s not clear if there will be a positive improvement, neither in the area of creating a shortcut nor in the area of taking care of traffic jams.
Despite this, the large damage to populations is very clear and serious,” he said.