The National Infrastructure Committee, headed by Avigdor Yitzhaki, yesterday approved National Infrastructure Plan 56 initiated by the Ministry of Transport for construction of a light rail line between Haifa and Nazareth. The plan is going to the cabinet for approval, and will then be assigned for detailed planning. According to the 2017-2018 Economic Arrangements Law, the Ministry of Transport's estimate of the project's cost is NIS 5.9 billion. The line is scheduled to begin operating in 2023.
The Haifa-Nazareth light rail will be 43 kilometers long: 36 kilometers of the route will be interurban and seven kilometers urban. Nine railway stations and six park and ride stations will be built along the interurban sections, and eight railway stations and three park and ride stations along the urban sections. The project will also include bridges, tunnels, and facilities required for operating the track and the light rail, such as a depot for working on the railway carriages, and power plants.
32 electrified trains will operate on the line, traveling at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour on the interurban sections, compared with 60 kilometers per hour for ordinary light rail trains. Each train will consist of a single 52-meter long railway car capable of carrying 300 passengers, 170 of them standing.
The line will begin at the Hamifratz Central Station in Haifa, from where it will be parallel to the Haifa suburban bypass road until the northern Kirat Ata interchange. It will stretch east from there in the direction of Nazareth via Shfaram, Bir al-Maksur, Hamovil Junction, Tsippori, and Reineh-Mashhad Junction, from where it will go to Upper Nazareth and Nazareth through Kiryat Hamemshala, before ending at Hamusakhim Junction. Interurban stations will be built at the Hamifratz Central Station, Vulcan Junction, southern Kiryat Ata, the Kiryat Atat transportation center, Givat Tal, Shfaram, Yiftahel, the northern entrance to Nazareth, and Reineh-Mashhad. The municipal stations will be built in Upper Nazareth and Nazareth.
Under the Economic Arrangements Law, the Yafe Nof company, which has developed the plans for the line up until now, will pass the reins to the Cross Israel Highway Company, which will manage the project on the state's behalf. Cross Israel Highway, which will issue the tenders for building the line, will be supervised by a ministerial committee headed by Ministry of Transport director general Keren Terner, with participation from representatives of the Ministry of Finance budget and Accountant General departments. The team will report to Minister of Transport and Intelligence Yisrael Katz.
Katz welcomed the National Infrastructure Committee's decision, saying that the light rail, which was declared a national project, would serve residents all along the route to the Greater Haifa area. He added that this important venture would strengthen Haifa as the capital of northern Israel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 21, 2017
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