It has been around 15 months since the Carmel Tunnels opened in Haifa, but their operator has still not found a safe solution to help drivers who turn onto tunnel approach roads in error.
Recently the tunnel franchisee, Carmelton, found a creative solution to the problem. Drivers who reach the tunnel tollbooths by mistake cannot turn around but are asked to drive in reverse, even though this is dangerous and may cause accidents.
The company has even hired workers whose only job is to guide errant drivers as they back out.
Most of the traffic changes and confusion are at the Check Post junction linking Haifa and the Krayot. Ahead of the opening of the Carmel Tunnels in December 2010, new lanes and traffic lights were added to the Check Post junction, and the turns and related signs were changed.
All this led many drivers to mistakenly enter the Carmel Tunnels, which charge a toll of NIS 12 shekels for traveling the full length and half that sum for traveling along one section.
The company would have been expected to enable drivers who make a wrong turn to do a u-turn in front of the tollbooths or, alternately, not charge them for traveling one segment.
Carmelton stated in response, "In August, and at our request, the traffic light at the Hanapah junction was changed and this led to an improvement in the traffic flow and safety level at the junction." The company also noted that drivers who entered the Carmel Tunnels by mistake and were charged can contact the company and request a refund.
Regarding the possibility of making a u-turn, Carmelton noted that "drivers who have passed the turnoff and approach the tollbooths can make a u-turn with the assistance of a representative of the Carmel Tunnels in order to ensure their safety and that of other tunnel users, and to maintain continued smooth and proper traffic flow."