The Herzliya municipality will soon issue an international tender to examine the feasibility of building artificial islands along Israel's coastline. The tender will include consideration of two islands: one for housing and the other for an airport for internal flights. Japanese delegations that visited Israel last month said that the islands were feasible. At the same time, the Tel Aviv municipality is preparing another plan for an artificial island on which an international airport and other infrastructure will be built.
An airport on an artificial island is common in wealthy and densely populated areas in the Far East. Almost all the airports built in recent years in Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan are on artificial islands. Discussion of such an artificial island in Israel began 20 years ago, when Israel and the Netherlands signed a memorandum of intent for cooperation in the construction of artificial islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
Nothing has happened since then other than talk. In 2002, the government approved the construction of two artificial islands off the Mediterranean coast: one for an airport off the Tel Aviv shore and one residential island opposite Bat Yam. In 2006, then-Minister of Transport Shaul Mofaz declared that his ministry would promote the construction of an artificial island, and that the feasibility check would take place in the first quarter of 2007. In 2012, the government approved the forming of an inter-ministerial steering committee for considering the technological feasibility of an island.
The Herzliya and Tel Aviv municipalities are now going into higher gear by planning construction of artificial islands on which an airport will be built. Herzliya city engineer Mike Sacca told "Globes" that the municipality's vision was to build two islands: one three kilometers from the shore and the other four kilometers away, between the Herzliya marina and the Apolonia site. He added that 40,000 housing units, hotels, and a stadium would be built on one of the islands, while an airport for internal and commercial flights would be built on the other. "There is no alternative to building islands," Sacca declared. "We need an airport and more housing units. There isn't enough room for this on land."
Sacca estimates the cost of building the two islands at NIS 4 billion with Herzliya municipality having already invested NIS 650,000 in planning and feasibility tests.
Tel Aviv council member Etai Pinkas says that Tel Aviv is considering building islands directly west of the Glilot interchange. Road 5 would be extended along a bridge one kilometer into the Mediterranean to islands holding an international airport and a desalination plant.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 31, 2016
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