Ministers advance plan to widen Jerusalem-TA highway

Israel Union for Environmental Defense calls initiative "irresponsible, both to the public and the environment."

Route 1 cars/transport 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Route 1 cars/transport 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A ministerial committee on Sunday unanimously approved the widening of Route 1, the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, a NIS 2.5 billion initiative that authorities said would cut travel time between Israel’s two largest cities by half an hour.
Yediot Aharonot’s Calcalist supplement reported Sunday that the project, scheduled to be completed in 2016, will widen the highway from two to three lanes in both directions between the city’s western entrance and Shaar Hagai. The long-delayed high-speed rail link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a ride estimated to take just half an hour, is also slated to be completed in 2016.
Ahead of the committee vote, a number of non-profit organizations and local councils contacted authorities imploring them to vote against the measure.
The group Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) called the plan “irresponsible, both to the public and the environment,” Calcalist reported. The local councils of Mevasseret Zion, Beit Shemesh, Mateh Yehuda, Abu Ghosh and Har Adar also asked that the initiative be rejected, citing its anticipated negative effect on residents’ quality of life.
Once the renovations are complete, exits to Abu Ghosh, Ein Rofeh and Ein Nekuba will be via a new road located beneath the highway, and the overpass at Ein Hemed will be razed and replaced.
The section of the highway between Shaar Hagai and the Shoresh Junction will be raised eight meters to make travel safer and prevent environmental damage, and a 700-meter long ecofriendly bridge will be erected adjacent to the junction to help protect plant and animal life.
A new intersection will also be constructed at Neveh Ilan, a moshav west of the capital, and at Mevasseret Zion.