The Tel Aviv authorities have approved the most ambitious municipal project in the country’s history: the enclosure of much of the Ayalon Highway, with a park and sports centers to go up above it.
The project, to be carried out in stages, would cover 240 dunams (59 acres) at an estimated cost of 2 billion shekels ($525 million), the Tel Aviv planning and building committee said Wednesday. Work on the project would begin in several years.
The first stage would enclose the section between Yehudit Boulevard near the Hashalom train station and Arvei Nahal Street near the main train station.
“The vision is a linking of open public space between Hayarkon Park and Begin Park to make it one long park,” city council member Etai Pinkas (Meretz), the chairman of the project’s steering committee, told Haaretz.
Due to the plan’s complexity, the entire approval process among Tel Aviv and higher planning committees is not expected to go quickly. The plan was put together by the Lerman architecture firm and municipal engineers.
The committee also pledged that any other building plans near the Ayalon would not jeopardize the project. Every building plan near the highway would have to take into account the Ayalon plan.
Pinkas said the project was not expected to disrupt traffic on or near the highway.
“This is the most densely packed strip of infrastructure in the Middle East,” he said. “The work has to be done in a way that lets all infrastructure continue to flow unimpaired.”
Asked about the heavy pollution that such a project could cause, Pinkas said: “The plan is not to enclose 100 percent of the area. It won’t be completely contiguous. It will be contiguous in terms of being able to ride a bike or walk there, but there will be open segments.”
The Ayalon runs north-south through eastern Tel Aviv, with some of the route along the Ayalon River, after which the highway is named.
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