Transport Minister: ‘I Never Promised 35 Minutes From Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim’

Israeli Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz at a ceremony opening the new Harel tunnels on Highway 1 last month. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz responded on Thursday to complaints about travel time on the renovated Highway 1 between Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv, telling Army Radio that things will soon get better.

Complainants have been saying that it takes longer to travel between the two cities following extensive renovations which are meant to improve conditions. The Harel tunnels and Motza Bridge opened last month to replace the Harel (Castel) Interchange and Motza curve.

“When I arrived, Highway 1 was obsolete and without shoulders. The work will be completed in a few months, and the new highway will replace a dangerous road… I never said that it would be possible to go from Yerushalayim to Tel Aviv in 35 minutes.

“The entire road with all its lanes will be completed in May, with all its usefulness, and it will be much better and more open than it was. Because it’s Yerushalayim, as soon as some MKs and journalists get caught in traffic jams, everyone is full of complaints. Right now, the whole argument is because traveling is in two lanes, while work is taking place on a third lane,” Katz pointed out.

Katz was similarly unmoved by the alarm of Israeli commuters at reports of record-breaking new car imports and thousands of additional vehicles on the roads each month, Katz commented.

“There’s no law against people buying cars. You’re not proposing going back to the days of the Soviet Union. People have the right to buy cars. The level of motorization in Israel is a third of what it is in the U.S., and half of what it is in Europe,” the minister said.

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