Operators of the new express lane to Tel Aviv have announced that it will open for business on Friday, January 7. The 13-kilometer toll road, to be used by registered subscribers and public transportation only, runs parallel to Route 1 from Ben-Gurion Airport to the Ayalon Freeway at the Kibbutz Galuyot interchange.
The lane will link to a park-and-ride lot at the Shapirim interchange and the first exit from the road after Shapirim junction will be the LaGuardia Interchange on the Ayalon.
The toll for each trip will be measured on a sliding scale that starts at NIS 7 and rises with the amount of traffic congestion to NIS 75. From simulations, officials expect the average toll to stay well below the maximum, costing about NIS 20-30 during rush hour. Updated prices will be displayed on signs at the entrance to the road from Routes 1 and 412. Speed in the fast lane is expected to average 70 kilometers per hour and 2,000 vehicles are expected to use the road per hour.
A 2,000-car park-and-ride lot has been erected at the Shapirim junction, where free shuttle buses will be available between the hours of 6:00 to 23:00 to the Kirya army headquarters in Tel Aviv, and the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange.
During rush hours, the shuttles will set out every five minutes. Parking in the lot for less than half an hour is free, but cars remaining there between midnight and 6:00 will be fined NIS 50.
"We are encouraging people to leave their cars outside of Tel Aviv. Prime targets for the fast lane are individual drivers in private cars," said Harel Hanin, the operations manager of the express lane.
While the road is intended for subscribers and public transportation, private cars with at least four passengers will be able to use it for free during the day. During times when traffic is less congested, cars with three passengers will also be allowed to use the fast lane for free. Motorcycles will benefit from a half-price toll fee.
The operator of the fast lane, Shapir Engineering, invested more than NIS 500 million in return for a 30-year lease on the lane.
Registration by telephone and Internet for the toll road began a few weeks ago, but only a few thousand drivers have done so, even though the service is free, and drivers who use the road without registering will be fined. Vehicles will be identified by their license plates, much like the system used on Route 6. An advertising campaign is expected to begin soon that will explain the toll road's operation and encourage its use.