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The government of Israel, represented by the Ministry of Finance accountant general department, the Ministry of Transport, and the National Road Safety Authority, has signed a franchise agreement with Shapir Engineering & Industry and Impresa Pizzarotti for the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of a new 5km highway in Jerusalem.
Highway 16 will serve as a new entrance road to Jerusalem from the west, connecting National Highway 1 from the Motza area to Givat Shaul and to Shmuel Bait Street in Jerusalem near the Givat Mordechai Interchange on Menachem Begin Avenue. It will be suited to speeds of approximately 80km/h.
The main elements of the highway are two tunnels under residential neighborhoods of the city and three junctions that will include interchanges and bridging alongside upgrades of the existing local roads and infrastructure. The total construction cost is estimated to be over ILS1 billion (US$269.9 million).
Construction will begin in 2019, with the road being opened to traffic in 2022-2023. Following this, the Shapir-Pizzarotti consortium will operate and maintain the highway for 25 years.
The consortium was awarded the project in August. Five other bids were received, with proponents including local investors and developers Electra, Minrav Holdings, Shikun & Binui, Ashtrom Properties and Oron Group, as well as international participants, such as China Harbor Engineering Company and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
The entrance to Jerusalem suffers from frequent traffic congestion. The highway is intended to serve the city’s incoming traffic from the west and south, and to improve access to Menachem Begin Avenue, which crosses the city, and to the Givat Shaul area, the National Precinct, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and southern Jerusalem.