The second stage of the Trans-Israel Highway: the section
between Nachshonim and Rosh Ha'ayin and kibbutz Eyal will
open to traffic by February 2002, according to senior
Traffic Ministry officials.
The section was due to open only at the conclusion of paving
of the first 90 kilometers of the toll road planned between
Hadera and Gedera. It was recently decided to open the road
earlier than scheduled. The other sections will be opened
gradually until the middle of 2004 after paving of the
highway -- called Highway Number 6 -- has been completed.
Excavation of the two tunnels in the Tel Charid area of the
Ben Shemen forest has begun. The tunnels are intended to
prevent damage to the area's natural environment. The two
tunnels will have six lanes, spanning 455 meters per
Minister Shachak stressed the importance of such wide lanes,
especially now. "The recent Arab uprising proves the
importance of alternate roads," he said.
The second bridge of the Kasem exchange route, which is 750
meters long, will be open to traffic in the beginning of
March. The bridge will enable one-direction of vehicular
traffic on each one of the bridges. They will also be open
to heavy trucks and vehicles.
More than NIS 20 million have been invested in building the
highway's center of operations at the Nachshonim junction
which is expected to be completed this month. The center is
a replica of the operational center on Toll Highway 407 in
Toronto. The center will supervise road maintenance and the
toll collection system.
More than 1500 workers are employed on the first 45
kilometers of the road, where 400 heavy mechanical machines
are in use. Every month, over NIS 80 million are invested in
Yehuda Wilk, the outgoing Police Commissioner, has been
appointed as director of the company operating the Trans-
Israel Highway. It is being built by the Derech Eretz
company, in which Africa-Israel, Shikun Ubinui and a
Canadian enterprise own equal shares.