In Battle Against Traffic, Jerusalem Okays Plan to Widen Main Highway Into City

The entrance to Jerusalem will be expanded by adding a third lane in both directions, and the Sakharov Gardens traffic light will be replaced with an interchange, the Jerusalem municipality's planning and building committee decided on Wednesday.

The Sakharov Gardens junction is notorious for its traffic jams.

Jerusalem entrance Sept. 16 2010 Daniel Bar-On
Daniel Bar-On

The plan still needs to be confirmed by the district planning and building committee, but Jerusalem officials voiced hopes on Wednesday that it would ease congestion on the way in and out of the city.

"Adding a third lane would ease traffic and allow the hundreds of thousands of visitors and tourists quick and convenient access to the capital," Mayor Nir Barkat said.

The plan also includes building a promenade with lookout points on the south side of the road and restoring and improving the Sakharov Gardens' terraces, which have suffered from neglect, pollution and unsuitable vegetation.

"The plan is based on the view of Jerusalem as a pilgrimage site, with the entry into it being an experience that happens along a continuous route, as the city slowly unfolds before the visitor," the municipality said in its statement.

The plan was drafted by architect David Guggenheim and will be carried out by the state-owned Moriah construction company.