New Yerushalayim Neighborhood Atop Begin Expressway

YERUSHALAYIM -
A portion of the Begin Expressway. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

There isn’t that much open space in Yerushalayim for new major construction, but Mayor Nir Barkat has found some space for a 70,000 square meter concept neighborhood that will include academic institutions, housing, shopping and business areas. The location for this new neighborhood: atop the Begin Expressway.

Currently, a small section of the expressway, which provides drivers with a quick route from northern Yerushalayim through to Gush Etzion, is covered, with drivers traveling about a mile through a tunnel. The new plan would increase that covered area, with the space above the highway transformed into a new neighborhood.

Among the amenities of the plan will be a large park, bike and walking paths, and shopping and commerce areas that would connect the Beit Hakerem neighborhood with the Government Quarter and Hebrew University areas, currently bisected by the Expressway. The neighborhood would contain 1,830 homes, 50 percent of them small apartments for use by students or young couples, and priced accordingly. An area dedicated to offices and industry will contain infrastructure and facilities for high-tech companies, with an emphasis on start-ups, the city said.

The plan will be brought to the city’s planning commission for approval within two weeks. The plan is being developed with the cooperation of the Israel Lands Administration, the Yerushalayim Development Authority, and the Ministry for Yerushalayim.

“Yerushalayim has great world-class advantages in academics and high-tech. Our only disadvantage is a lack of space, so we have decided to think outside the box, and we came up with this revolutionary plan that will create parks, green spaces, a high-tech area and thousands of apartments, allowing us to develop this area. In this way, we bring neighborhoods of the city together, and thus strengthen it,” said Mayor Barkat.