The high-speed rail line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is on track, but will still be a long time coming. Yesterday Israel Railways awarded the NIS 558 million tender for the second segment of the line to Minrav Engineering and Construction and Russian tunnel excavator Moscow Metrostroy.
There are four segments on the new line to Jerusalem, and this is the last tender. The first segment from Modi'in to Latrun was completed last year at a cost of NIS 250 million; the third and fourth segments are already under construction. The cost of the entire project is estimated at NIS 6 billion.
The second segment, from Latrun to Sha'ar Hagai, includes two parallel tunnels each 3.5 kilometers long. Construction is expected to take 40 months, with the first trains most likely reaching the capital in 2017.
"The high-speed line to Jerusalem is the largest and most complex project in Israel," said Israel Railways CEO Yitzhak Harel yesterday. He said his company aims to start working as soon as possible on the entire line.
The tender is a strategic victory for Minrav after its privatized prison project was canceled by the High Court of Justice and its desalinization plant tender with Mekorot in Ashdod was frozen.
The third segment of the rail project, from Sha'ar Hagai to Mevasseret Zion, will cost NIS 1.6 billion and should be completed in 2014. The final section from Mevasseret to Jerusalem is scheduled for completion in 2015 at an estimated cost of up to NIS 1 billion.