First Jezreel Valley railway tender underway

The railway is planned eventually to link with the Jordanian railway system.

A year after the Israel National Roads Company Ltd. was given the task of handling construction of the new Jezreel Valley railway line, as part of the Netivei Israel plan, the first tender for the project will be published today. The tender is for the construction of a 6.5-kilometer stretch of the line between Kfar Baruch near Migdal Ha'Emek, and Nahal Adashim near Afula.

This is the first railway tender that the National Roads Company is responsible for. The value of the tender is lower than the subsequent tenders for the Jezreel Valley railway, which are due to be published later this year. However, sources inform ''Globes'' that Danya Cebus Ltd. (TASE: DNYA), Shikun u'Binui Solel Boneh Building and Infrastructure Ltd., and Shafir Civil and Marine Engineering Ltd. plan to bid in the tender, and that other large contractors are also considering participation.

The estimated cost of the Jezreel Valley railway is NIS 4 billion (out of the NIS 27.5 billion budget allotted for the Netivei Israel plan last year). The railway is scheduled to be completed in 2016. The new line will parallel the historic railway line.

The Jezreel Valley railway will run 60 kilometers from Haifa to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge over the Jordan River in the Beit She'an Valley. The railway is due to continue to Irbid in Jordan, where it will link with the Jordanian railway system. Incoming Israel Ports Development & Assets Company Ltd. chairman Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad, is responsible for cooperation with the Jordanian government.

The Jezreel Valley railway will carry passengers and cargo between western and eastern Israel. The railway will run from the Lev Hamifratz station in Haifa Bay through Nesher, Ha'Amakim (Jalame), Yokne'am (Tishbi Junction), Afula, along the foot of Mount Gilboa, and Beit She'an.

Roads Company general manager Shai Baras says that trains will be able to travel at 160 kmh on the line.

The historic Jezreel Valley railway was a branch of the Hejaz railway built by the Ottomans in 1905, linking Haifa with Damascus, crossing the Jordan River at Tzemach. The railway operated until Israel's independence in 1948, and contributed to the development of Haifa and its environs.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 7, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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