Permits Issued for Construction of Key Bypass Roads

Israeli security forces secure the scene after a Palestinian terrorists attempted to stab Israelis near the Hawara checkpoint, south of Shechem, April 3. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

The Civil Administration on Wednesday signed off on a permit for the construction of two key roads in Yehudah and Shomron – the Hawara bypass road in Shomron, and the El Aroub bypass road in Yehudah. The permits were issued after a meeting of the Administration’s Road Committee Wednesday.

Drivers who take the east-west roads across Shomron to the area are often surprised to find themselves in a major traffic jam, driving slowly through the large Arab town of Hawara, located right on the main highway. The presence of Israeli vehicles in the town has long been a bane for security officials, and Hawara has often been the site of terror attacks. The new road will see the construction of a new spur that will bypass Hawara, similar to other bypass roads that have recently been built, including the Nebi Elias bypass road on the Shechem-Kfar Sava highway (Route 55).

Meanwhile, further south, a new section of Road 60 will perform a similar function in Gush Etzion. Currently, drivers traveling south of Efrat towards Kiryat Arba and Chevron need to pass El Aroub, an Arab town and refugee camp that hugs the highway, with many houses situated right next to the road. Besides the endless delays due to traffic going in and out of the town, Israeli cars are frequent targets of rock attacks by Arabs. The new road will allow drivers from Chevron and points south much faster and safer access to Gush Etzion and Yerushalayim.

The two roads are part of an ambitious multi-year and multi-billion shekel road infrastructure project in Yehudah and Shomron. Other projects on the government’s agenda are the construction of a bi-directional two-lane highway between Kfar Sava and the western Shomron town of Tzofim; the construction of an additional two lanes in each direction on the Gush Etzion-Yerushalayim road south of the Gush Etzion tunnels; construction of the Azzun bypass road, which will allow residents of western Shomron quick access to Road 6; and a rail line between Ariel and Petach Tikvah.