Coronavirus quiet enables Israel to drive forward infrastructure projects
13 April 2020 - The jerusalem post
Projects benefiting from the shutdown include the extension of the heavily-delayed electrified railway line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which has now reached Savidor Central station.
The economic shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus has enabled authorities to accelerate long-awaited transportation infrastructure projects, taking advantage of almost barren roads and entirely-suspended train travel.
Israelis needing to venture out of the house and drive between cities in recent weeks, amid nationwide lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, will have no doubt seen construction teams busy at work along the country's primary thoroughfares.
Eager to take advantage of the relative quiet has been the Finance Ministry, which announced additional funds worth NIS 1.1 billion ($310m.) to drive forward projects across the country.
Projects benefiting from the shutdown include the extension of the heavily-delayed electrified railway line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which has now reached Savidor Central station. Work will continue on the line to Tel Aviv University and Herzliya.
"Completion of the electrified line and the operation of the high-speed route between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Savidor is significant news for the public, who will enjoy the extension of the service to the central Hashalom and Savidor stations, which benefit from great connectivity throughout the Gush Dan region," said Israel Railways CEO Michael Maixner.
Other projects scheduled to be advanced include work on the railway due to connect Modi'in and Rishon Lezion, along Route 431; ground-level work on the Tel Aviv Light Rail's red line; continuing the "Nativ Plus" carpool lane from Caesarea to Netanya; and public transportation lanes on Route 5 and Jerusalem's Menachem Begin Boulevard.
Funds have also been transferred for the Ayalon Highways "fast lanes" project, creating bus-only lanes along the congested highway northbound from Rishon Lezion to Tel Aviv, and southbound from Netanya to Tel Aviv.