Yarkon National Park
The water lily pond at Yarkon National Park. Photo by Nir Keidar
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A total of four new bridges for pedestrians and bicyclists are to be built shortly at various spots over the Yarkon River, giving hikers the option of crossing the river banks over wide stretches beyond Tel Aviv's Ganei Yehoshua park. Currently there are only two bridges in the area, and both are adjacent to busy roads.

Last week one of the new bridges was put in place south of Hod Hasharon and another will be installed nearby this week. Two more will be built future east, in a stretch of naturally cleaner water rather than treated wastewater.

The Environmental Protection Ministry is funding the construction of the four bridges at a cost of about NIS 2 million. The actual work is being carried out by the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Government Tourism Corporation.

The design of the bridges was the result of a competition the Yarkon River Authority sponsored, won by landscape architect Erez Lotan. Lotan's design was chosen for its simplicity and because it minimized the need for other infrastructure and therefore also the impact at the sites where the bridges are being built, Yarkon River Authority director David Pargament said. All four bridges will be completed by the end of this month, he added.

"[The bridges] are made of concrete and were planned to blend into their environment and not steal the show from the river," Lotan, said, adding that they are being placed very close to the river but are designed to withstand the flooding that occurs on the river every few years.

Work has recently been completed on treatment plants on the Yarkon that purify wastewater running into the river to a greater extent than before.

Planning and installation of additional bicycle paths along the river is continuing, and the bridges are part of this network of paths. The Petah Tikva municipality is also planning bike trails from the city that will include a bridge on a tributary of the Yarkon.