Shapir to enlarge Tel Aviv fast lane parking lot
3 January 2020 - globes
The state will pay the Shapir Engineering & Industry Ltd. NIS 700 million over the next 17 years for building the parking lot.
The state will pay the Shapir Engineering & Industry Ltd. NIS 700 million over the next 17 years for building and maintaining another floor in the Tel Aviv fast lane parking lot next to the Shapirim Interchange on Road 1 (Jerusalem - Tel Aviv highway) near the eastern entrance to Tel Aviv
The project will be given to Shapir without a tender, after approval was obtained from the Accountant General's Office exemptions committee on December 31, 2019, just before the transition to the 2020 continuation budget. Approval was regarded as urgent because starting on January 1, 2020, another approval by the exceptions committee is required for any new agreement. Although the agreement has not yet been signed, Shapir recently obtained authorization to begin work, with a promise to restore the previous situation, if no agreement is signed.
The agreement is slated for signing by Ministry of Finance Accountant General Rony Hizkiyahu in the coming days, but will become effective only after approval is obtained from the main lenders for the project, headed by Bank Leumi and Migdal Insurance. The negotiations for the agreement were conducted through the Cross Israel Highway company - the Ministry of Transport's construction arm. Under the agreement, Shapir will receive NIS 250 million for construction work on expanding the project, which will take three years. The rest of the amount will be paid by the end of the franchise period in 2037 for operating the parking lot and the new free shuttle service, to be added to the two existing ones, connecting the parking lot to Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.
The talks between Shapir and the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport on doubling the Fastlane parking lot began seven years ago, shortly after the project began operating. At the beginning of the negotiations, then-Accountant General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu demanded that a tender be issued for construction of another floor, but the state eventually preferred an agreement with the existing franchise holder in a proceeding with an exemption from a tender.
The state dragged its feet for years without completing the negotiations. Sources involved in the negotiations told "Globes" that the reason for the prolonging of negotiations was the project's great engineering difficulty. They said, "It involves not only adding another floor to the parking lot, but also a change in its operating model and the addition of many new functions, such as an elevator and buying new buses. It is also very difficult to construct such a project within an active existing parking lot."
The extra floor to be added in the project will contain 1,800 parking spaces. The adjacent public transportation terminal on the west side of the parking lot will be expanded. Operating a third shuttle is referred to by the state as optional.
The state's planning of the project was completed in 2015, and Shapir completed the detailed planning only a year ago. In recent months, a temporary parking lot for 1,000 vehicles was prepared south of the existing parking lot that will serve users of the shuttle to the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange area, during the construction work.
The Fast Lane project that began operating in 2011 is a based on a 13-kilometer toll lane paved on Road 1 in the section between Ben Gurion Interchange and Kibbutz Galuyot Interchange. The dynamic toll charged for users of the lane can be up to NIS 105, not including VAT, during peak morning hours (vehicles with multiple passengers are exempt from the charge).
The second element of the project is a park and ride parking lot with 2,000 parking places. The state pays the franchise holders NIS 14 for each occupied parking space in a day. Two free shuttles leave the fast lane parking lot: one to the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange area and the other to the Azrieli Center and Hashmonaim Street and Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv.
In 2006, Shapir Engineering and Industry won the Accountant General's BOT tender to build and operate the fast lane until 2037 for NIS 160 million in royalties that it promised to pay. According to its financial statements, Shapir has invested NIS 756 million in the project to date, while the state invested NIS 460 million in work on preparing the lane. Despite engineering failures and a legal dispute between the state and Shapir before it was opened, the fast lane for the project is regarded as a success, owing to use of the park and ride parking lot.
It was therefore decided to expand the parking lot's capacity. Within a short time of commencement of the project's operation, the parking lot was filled to capacity at peak hours. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Transport wanted to begin more shuttles from the parking lot to central Tel Aviv around Rothschild Boulevard and the Ramat Hahayal business center, but this was contingent on additional parking capacity in the parking lot.
At the same time, Cross Israel Highway is promoting construction of a northbound fast lane on Ayalon Highway with a park and ride parking lot in the area of Rishon Lezion West Interchange, southbound on the coastal highway with a park and ride parking lot in the area of Poleg Interchange, and a lane on Road 5 with a park and ride parking lot in the area of Morasha Interchange.