Beit She’an to See Huge Development

YERUSHALAYIM -
An Israel Railways train seen in the northern Hefer Valley. (Moshe Shai/Flash90/FILE)

Bet She’an, in the northern Jordan Valley, is set to get a major boost in size, infrastructure and population. An ambitious project will see construction of 5,500 new homes in the town over the next several years, to accommodate an additional 28,000 residents. The city had a total of some 18,000 residents in 2017.

With the completion of the refurbished Valley Line of Israel Railways, the city has for the past two years discussed a major expansion, with the final plan filed with government authorities in recent weeks. The plan entails construction of two new neighborhoods, one with 3,500 homes and the other with over 2,000. In addition, the city will undergo a major urban renewal project (Tama 38) in some of its older neighborhoods. Highways will also be upgraded, especially at the southern entrance to the city, where many of Beit She’an’s archaeological treasures are located.

The plan will also see construction of 180,000 square meters of hotel space and leisure-oriented facilities, with over 1,100 new hotel rooms to be built, as well as 440,000 square meters of office and industry space.

In addition, a new train depot will be built near the city’s current industrial zone – to allow for connection to train tracks that will potentially bring commercial freight trains from Jordan. The tracks to Jordan are currently in place, but would need to be upgraded in order to be used. The Valley Line could allow Jordanian trains to travel directly to Haifa Port, significantly reducing the cost of exports for Jordan, officials said.

Commenting on the plan, Beit She’an Mayor Jackie Levy said that approval of the plan “is a great step forward for the revitalization of Beit She’an. For the first time we will be able to realize our potential as a city for tourism, as well as the development of the city as an international focal point for visitors. This is of course in addition to the increase in population and infrastructure, and the expansion of the city’s borders,” he added.