Work on widening the Sha'ar Hagai-Shoresh bottleneck of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway has been halted over the past month due to the contractor's financial difficulties. On November 29, Mordechai Binyamin & Sons Earthworks (1993) Ltd., which was upgrading the 6.5 kilometer stretch of Road 1 between Sha'ar Hagai and Shoresh, was granted a stay-of-proceedings by the Nazareth District Court due to debts of NIS 178 million.
Work is continuing on the other sections of Road 1 being upgraded, including widening the road to three lanes in each direction from Shoresh to Motza, the Neve Ilan Interchange, the Mevasseret underpass to replace the current Harel Interchange, and the Motza elevated section to replace the current Motza curve. However, without widening the notorious bottleneck between Sha'ar Hagai and Shoresh, these improvements will be of little value to vehicles driving between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The current state of the road between Sha'ar Hagai and Shoresh is also highly dangerous, especially with heavy rains expected over the next few months. Several weeks ago several deep holes opened in the road after heavy rains.
Several companies have reportedly expressed interest in buying Mordechai Binyamin & Sons but it remains unclear if and when work will resume.
Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz said when the project began, "The new highway to Jerusalem is one of the most important traffic arteries in Israel. Its widening to three lanes, the mining of tunnels, and the building of bridges will give the capital a worthy road."
NIS 2.5 billion is being invested in the upgrading of Road 1.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 1, 2015
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