Kishon Stream Oct. 31, 2010 (Zafrir Rinat)
The path next to Kishon Stream along which Route 6 would run. Photo by Zafrir Rinat
Text size

A planned section of Route 6 could damage the Kishon Stream and have a negative environmental impact on the northern town of Kiryat Tivon, according to local authorities.

The route of the Trans-Israel Highway set to pass through the narrow valley south of the Carmel ridge could cause grave damage to the Kishon Stream and environmental issues for Kiryat Tivon, the Kiryat Tivon local council and the Kishon Stream authority warned last week. The Trans-Israel Highway Company, which builds and operates the toll road, argues the route was planned to minimize damage to the stream and will not run close enough to Kiryat Tivon to disturb its residents.

The land transportation committee, which operates under the auspices of the Interior Ministry, will determine its stance on the northernmost section of highway in the coming days. The committee's position will be taken into account by the national planning authorities, who will give the plan the final go-ahead.

The contested section represents a central portion of the government's "Israel routes" plan, meant to improve transportation links between the country's center and the periphery.

The committee has been presented with an overview of the road's environmental impact, with the preferred option seeing the road diverge from the already existing Route 70 and running separately as a toll road over the Kishon Stream and alongside Kiryat Tivon. The route would then turn north, passing through a tunnel to limit any damage to the hills bordering the community of Rechasim.

According to the head of the Kiryat Tivon local council, however, "This proposal causes great damage to the most beautiful part of the Kishon."

"It also comes close to our neighborhoods and could create noise and air pollution," David Arieli said. "Running the stretch along Route 70 should've been more closely considered, but the Trans-Israel Highway Company prefers a separate road, so they can collect tolls and fund the construction privately."

The Kishon Stream authority submitted a document of its own to the committee, pointing out that the area in question is one of the last natural coastal stream areas, and that it already encompasses a park set to be expanded. The authority warned that the road and its interchanges would cross the stream in several locations and therefore cause considerable damage. The authority urged the committee to reconsider running the route through a tunnel in the Kishon area.

Reuven Lev-On, director of the Trans-Israel Highway Company, strongly rejected claims that the current route was chosen so that the company could collect tolls there. A number of alternatives were considered, he said, explaining that the one selected was what was determined to be the best from both transportational and environmental perspectives.

The Environmental Protection Ministry also requested that the highway company reconsider alternatives, including extending the Rechasim tunnel. The company is expected to submit the results of its review of alternatives in the Kishon area.