Israel takes advantage of roads emptied by virus to speed up projects

Significant drop in road and railway traffic leads to advancement of infrastructure projects throughout Israel.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Amid the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, Israelis have something to look forward to once they return to work. With almost no cars on the road and no trains in service, the Ministry of Transportation, Israel Railways, and Netivei Israel are using the downtime to advance projects that usually lead to serious headaches for commuters.

Erez Siksik, branch manager of Netivei Israel, told Kan News, “The decrease in vehicle traffic is making it possible for us to dramatically increase the speed of our road improvement and infrastructure projects throughout Israel.”

According to figures released by the Ministry of Transportation, last week saw a 70% decrease in vehicles on the road in Israel. This week, the number is up to 80%.

Normally, 850,000 cars pass through Ayalon Highway on any given day. But currently, traffic is so light that Ayalon Highway can be closed in certain places for road work, like creating long-awaited express lanes.

Ido Maoz, the manager of the express lanes project at Netivei Ayalon, said, “We are collaborating in a joint effort with the Ministry of Transportation to take full advantage of this time. We’re moving forward with heavy roadwork projects so that when we get back to normal, these type of projects that inconvenience the public will be behind us.”

Israel Railways is also getting in on the action, utilizing the slow period to perform long overdue maintenance, as well as litter pickup along kilometers of railroad tracks.

Micha Meichsner, the CEO of Israel Railways, said, “During this time while movement is paused on our railroads, we’re trying to advance projects like serious maintenance and other things we haven’t gotten a chance to do in the past while we were operating.”