Sources inform ''Globes'' that cracks were found in the Arlozorov overpass over the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv during engineering tests ahead of work to strengthen overpasses before construction of subway tunnels for the Tel Aviv light rail. The strengthening work began a few days ago.
The cracks were discovered by engineers working for NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd., the government company which is building the light rail's Red Line, and which is also responsible for strengthening the overpasses.
A source who was notified of the cracks told "Globes" this week that the engineers who examined the overpass "were stunned that thousands of cars, buses, and trucks were allowed to use it every day." He added that the engineers were unable to obtain the overpass's building plans, which would have greatly facilitated their planning work. He said that the plans may have been lost.
The Arlozorov overpass, which links Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan, is one of Israel's most heavily used overpasses. It comprises two sections: the Shiffman Bridge, and the Shefa Tal Bridge, which is connected to it. The Shiffman Bridge, named for a deputy mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa runs from Arlozorov Street to Shefa Tal Road, and the Shefa Tal Bridge is between Menachem Begin Road in Tel Aviv to Jabotinsky Road in Ramat Gan. The Ayalon Highways Company is responsible for both overpasses.
NTA is carrying out planning work to strengthen the overpass ahead of the shafts which will be dug in the Gali Gal parking lot for insertion of the four tunnel boring machines. The 150-meter borers will dig the subway tunnels for the 11-kilometer Red Line.
NTA said in response, "The engineering test of the Arlozorov overpass's bridges was carried in preparation for the digging of the shaft for the tunnel boring machines, which will dig the light railway's tunnels. We are talking about a pair of 11-kilometer tunnels, which will be dug between Geha Interchange and border between Tel Aviv and Jaffa at the top of Jerusalem Boulevard. NTA plans to operate eight tunnel boring machines to dig the tunnels.
"In order to insert the tunnel boring machines below ground, NTA is digging three delivery shafts, one of them near the Arlozorov interchange, and the others near Em Hamoshava interchange in Petah Tikva, and the other near the Herzl parking lot in south Tel Aviv.
"The digging began a year ago, and was due to last 15 months, but NTA now estimates that double the allocated time will be needed to complete the tunnels, due to the technical complexity of the work.
"Each delivery shaft will be 100 meters long, 25 meters wide, and 30 meters deep. A concrete floor will be laid to bear the weight of the tunnel boring machine, in order to prevent it sinking into the water saturated Tel Aviv sand."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 15, 2013
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