NIS 38b. to be invested in new roads in upcoming years

In the next five years the Israel National Road Company (INRC) plans to build a total of 52 kilometers of new roads, construct 95 new interchanges, widen 230 kilometers of roads and lay 135 kilometers of railroads, according to a 2011-2016 plan presented to reporters at a press conference on Wednesday in Tel Aviv.
The ministry has authorized NIS 38 billion for the construction of new infrastructure projects in the upcoming years, which will lead to a revolution in transportation in Israel, reported Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
“The INRC is the body that will lead Israel’s transportation revolution, a revolution that we are already experiencing at the moment. During the revolution, tens of billions of shekels will be invested in creating new roads, laying new train tracks and upgrading existing roads,” Katz said.
“All this will be done in order to connect the periphery to the center and enable everyone to enjoy seamless, quick and safe movement across the country.”
The Transportation Ministry’s new director-general, Dan Harel, said that the biggest challenge facing the ministry was making sure that the planned projects were executed in a timely fashion.
“These are big projects and we face big challenges. Our success will be measured in our ability to see them out,” Harel said.
INRC director-general Shay Baras, who entered the new post in November 2010, presented the new plan, highlighting some of its main features.
Among the major works that are planned are the construction of a new road from Mevaseret Zion to Jerusalem, the widening of Highway 5 between Bar-Ilan and Geha interchanges, the laying of 60 kilometers of train tracks for a new route between Haifa and Beit She’an and the connection of Karmiel by rail to Haifa.
“The INRC successfully completed all of its goals in the 2006-2010 plan. The company’s ability to see out billion-shekel projects is constantly measured by its ability to meet schedules, budgets and quality control. The size of the new plan, as well as the decision to transfer to us the role of constructing railroads, is a testament to our engineering and managerial abilities,” Baras said.
He added that the increase of the annual average budget from NIS 4b. to NIS 6b., a 50 percent growth, was a challenge he was confident the company could meet.
“The company’s working plan includes a range of subjects and areas of expertise, including developing an inter-city highway network, safety related projects, regular upkeep and maintenance, planning and promoting new projects, operating oversight systems and conducting research and development. In planning new projects the company will address the sharp rise in cyclists, integrating green technologies and project architecture and acoustics,” Baras said.
In the next six years, he continued, the INRC planned to invest NIS 1.7b. in addressing high risk roads and small projects, such as additional road/rail separators, improved lighting, upgrading road safety infrastructure, installing new traffic lights and widening roads.
Katz said that his ministry had received a budget of NIS 250 million from the Treasury earmarked for upgrading those roads found to be most dangerous according to accident statistics. He said that the amount was insufficient and that he would advocate for additional special budgets.