After two years of planning, the Haifa-Nazareth light rail project is getting underway. The Cross Israel Highway company today published a tender to select a company to manage the NIS 6 billion project, which will serve residents of the north and connect metropolitan Haifa with the Nazareth-Upper Nazareth municipal bloc. The project combines an interurban public transportation system and a municipal mass transit system.
The 41-kilometer line will have 19 railway stations, park and drive parking lots, a depot, and a control center. 32 railway carriages will travel on the line with a maximum frequency of one train every four minutes. A maximum of 10,620 passengers an hour is projected with a planned speed of 100 kilometers per hour on the interurban section. Tram-train technology will facilitate travel on both the interurban and municipal section with no need to switch trains.
The light rail is planned to pass near the following communities: Haifa, Kiryat Ata, Shfaram, Bir al-Maksur, Reineh-Mashhad, Upper Nazareth, and Nazareth. The line will begin at the Lev Hamifratz station in Haifa close to the regular train station, run parallel to Highway 22 until the North Kiryat Ata Interchange, and continue along Highway 781 until Galam Interchange. The route then goes between the lanes of Highway 79 until Reineh-Mashhad Junction, continues along Highway 6400 to Upper Nazareth, where it crosses Upper Nazareth, with stops at municipal stations near Kiryat Hamemshala Road, and ends in Nazareth at the intersection of Highway 75 and Tawfiq Ziad Street (Hamusachim Junction).
The operating system for the planned line is based on an electrical feed originating at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) power stations located outside the plan to supply electricity for the railway.
Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz said, "Beyond the transportation and economic benefit, the project will also have other benefits fitting in with the Ministry of Transport and the government's policy goals: strengthening the north, developing the Galilee, bring the outlying areas closer to the center, and narrowing social and economic gaps in the Arab sector."
Cross Israel Highway, the government's leading performance arm in public-private partnership (PPP) projects, was selected to manage and carry out the project. In Cross Israel Highway's announcement, the company stated that the tender was aimed at international and local companies and posed threshold criteria ensuring the financial soundness and proven experience of the selected company and its officeholders in managing projects with similar characteristics and complexity.
In announcing the tender, Cross Israel Highway CEO Dan Shenbach said, "This complex and unique project combines municipal and interurban public transportation - an innovative and developing format from a global perspective being implemented in Israel for the first time. Cross Israel Highway has extensive know-how and experience in large and complicated franchise projects. We have also studies and researched similar projects around the world. We are planning to manage the project efficiently and on an uncompromising high level, while scrupulously sticking to the timetables."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 27, 2018
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