The steep climb to the Castel on the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem highway will finally be replaced by two 800 meter tunnels.Next Friday morning January 20th, the tunnels under the Harel interchange at Mevasseret Zion on the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem highway (Road 1) are being opened for traffic. The steep climb to the Castel hilltop will now be shortened as two 800 meter tunnels with three lanes each way are replacing the present interchange.
The Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Motza Bridge already opened this past April and now the Bridge running the other way from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will also open. Initially, only two lanes will be open in each direction on both the tunnels and the bridge. The third lane will open four months later with the completion of the entire Road 1 project.
The Road 1 upgrade project, between Shaar Hagai and Jerusalem costed NIS 2.5 billion. The tunnels and bridge will both reduce the driving time between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to 35 minutes, barring heavy traffic. In 2018 the new fast rail link that will transport passengers between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in just 28 minutes will open.
The road between Shaar Hagai and the new Hemed Interchange has already been widened and a new interchange was added at Neve Ilan.
Between 10pm next Thursday night and 10am Friday morning there will be major traffic disruptions on the highway between Shaar Hagai and Jerusalem when the tunnels open. Much of the time Road 1 will be closed as final touches get finished that day.