tel aviv tram

Israel Katz

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz speaks at the launch of construction of the Tel Aviv light rail. (Flash90)

Tel Aviv has begun the long path towards alight rail system in the city. 

Tractors began breaking ground in the heart of Tel Aviv late Sunday night in what was the first stage of an ambitious six-year project that will ultimately provide the bustling city with a tram system.

The plans, which have been on the designing board for the past 20 years, were finally implemented as workmen cleared street lights and signs, removed the pavement and made way for the heavy equipment that will dig tunnels for the light rail system deep below the surface of the city.

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz, who was present at the site as construction began, stated that it was an historical day. “I am proud that despite the pressures and obstacles, the initiative is on its way… 100 years after the first initiative [to establish the city of Tel Aviv], it is time to complete the project.”

Many of the city’s main routes will be shut down. The Ministry of Transportation has set up a special public transportation system in an attempt to alleviate backups and ensure the flow of traffic into the city.

The construction is being carried out by the China Railway Tunnel Group (CRTG), which won a bid of close to NIS 3 billion ($800 million) to help build the long-awaited light rail in Tel Aviv. CRTG is a subsidiary of CREC, China’s largest construction company.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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