The plan involves digging tunnels and building bridges and will leave the highway with three lanes of traffic in each direction.
By Avi Bar-Eli

The Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road near the capital will be widened and upgraded significantly to the tune of NIS 2.5 billion. The major renovations will affect the section from the Sha’ar Hagai interchange where Route 1 starts its climb through the Judean Hills to the capital.

The planning bodies approved the widening of the road to three lanes in both directions a year ago, and yesterday a ministerial committee approved the plans.
Jerusalem Tel Aviv traffic

The never-ending traffic jams at the entrance to the capital.
Photo by: Tess Scheflan

The project includes digging two long tunnels, each 650 meters long, under the Harel ridge, building two 800-meter bridges to replace the dangerous Motza curve, as well as various other bridges, tunnels and improvements. The new Motza bridge will also link up with Route 16, which is planned to span from Motza to the Givat Mordechai neighborhood in Jerusalem, and is intended to provide another, more southernly entrance to the city.

A special ecological bridge will be built near the Shoresh Junction to allow wild animals to cross the road safely. Despite such considerations, there is still much opposition to the new plan. Many communities along the route, as well as environmental groups such as the Israel Union For Environmental Defense, object to the changes.