The closure of a small stretch of Shazar Boulevard near the western entrance to Jerusalem caused traffic chaos this morning, which is likely to persist for the next four years.
Last year's completion of a NIS 2.5 billion upgrade of Road 1 - the Tel Aviv - Jerusalem highway - was supposed to reduce the travel time between the two cities to 35 minutes. This morning it took longer than that just to drive the final few kilometers from the Harel Tunnels up to Jerusalem.
A small section of Shazar Boulevard is currently closed alongside where the old Foreign Ministry complex was located, thus blocking the main route into the city. Drivers must now turn right along Herzl Boulevard and left into Yitzhak Rabin Boulevard in order to reach the city center.
Shazar Boulevard will be closed over the next week for major infrastructure work and although it will be reopened temporarily, it will be closed for much of the next four years, as work pushes ahead on Jerusalem's new business center, which when completed will have three times the amount of office space than there is in Tel Aviv's Azrieli Center.
In 2022, Shazar Boulevard will be replaced by an underground highway stretching from the Bridge of Chords to the Bezalel Street junction opposite Sacher Park.
Until then expect jams. It had been hoped that the planned opening of the new Jerusalem - Tel Aviv fast rail link later this month would ease congestion by tempting drivers to take the train. But the postponement of the opening by at least six months will only exacerbate the situation.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 4, 2018
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018