Talia Yerushalmy, lawyer
VP. Chief Economist & CFO
VP Engineering, Chief Engineer
VP Light Rail Projects
VP Head of Concessions Division
Corporate Secretary & Head of Organization, Regulation and Government Relations Division
The route of Highway 6 (the Cross-Israel Highway) was established as far back as 1976, to meet a transportation need and a socio-economic demand. The aim of the Highway was defined as a road linking the parts of the country along its length, serving as a major transportation artery, bypassing the densely packed and jammed metropolitan area of Gush Dan and strengthening the connection to Jerusalem.
This purpose received greater emphasis following the immigration waves at the end of the 1980s, when the plan was promoted again, as a lever for the development of residential and employment areas, and for the absorption of immigrants. At that time, the entire length of the route was set at a total of about 300 km, including an extension to the northeastern Galilee.
Upon its establishment in 1993, the Company started to plan the central part of the road (Gedera – Hadera) stretching 90 kilometers, as well as recommended using extra-budgetary funding, as part of a franchise tender, as an electronic toll road, allowing free flow of traffic. A decision in this spirit was adopted in the summer of 1995, including instructions for the continuation of planning processes northwards and southwards.
The project was established in a PPP (Public – Private Partnership) format, while the international tender was in a BOT (Build–Operate–Transfer) format. The franchise tender took place between 1996 and 1999, and at its conclusion it was awarded to Derech Eretz Highways (1997) Ltd. The construction was completed in January 2004, and the concession is valid until 2029.
At the same time, the Company continued to promote the paving of the road southwards to Ma’ahaz (35 km), and began the construction of the road northwards at Section 18 – from the Iron Interchange to Ein Tut (18 km), which was also constructed by the concessionaire Derech Eretz. The southern section up to Shoket Interchange was established by budgetary means, and was opened to traffic in December 2016.
Nowadays, the Company continues to promote the construction of additional sections of Highway 6 – Sections 3 and 7 – from Yokneam to the Somekh Interchange. These sections include 21 km of road construction, and the digging of three double tunnels: Yokneam, Rekhasim and Ibtin, with a total length of 9.4 km, and two mega interchanges.
Next year, the first section from Yokneam to the Tel Qashish Interchange will be opened for traffic, and later on, the section leading to the Somekh Interchange will be opened for traffic as well. This is a BOT concession project for a period of 34 years that is carried out by ‘6 Cross North’, Shapir Group and includes financing, detailed planning, construction, operation, maintenance and service of the northern sections. In the southern part of the country, the Company is promoting the continuation of Highway 6 southward to Nevatim.
Additional road sections are in the planning stages.
The Company has provided a significant contribution to the connecting of the outlying districts of the country to central Israel.
As mentioned above, the Company’s goals have changed over the years and today it serves as a complex nationwide transportation infrastructure management company. The Company employs about 50 people and is managed by an experienced, veteran, professional and multi-disciplinary team of employees, with scores of years of experience and extensive knowledge in various infrastructure fields. The Company uses outsourced work in its business areas through the leading players in Israel, while maintaining a knowledge core within the company.
Over the years the Company has gained extensive experience in the unique field of PPP projects and has developed expertise and professionalism in the management of projects of this type, while facilitating effective communication with government ministries on the one hand, and franchisees on the other. Thus, the Company serves as a promoter and mediator between the private sector and the public sector on a variety of transportation and economic issues, and is currently implementing this knowledge in the management of large concession projects in the field of transportation infrastructure in Israel. The Company’s vast expertise in the field serves as an advantage to the State and has many economic benefits.
In addition, the Company serves as an appointed authority in four toll road franchises, out of which three are within the operation period: main section of Highway 6, the Carmel Tunnels and the Fast Lane from Shapirim to Tel Aviv, and one is in the construction stage: Cross North Highway 6. The Company maintains the rights of the drivers in the concession projects for which it is responsible, and manages the work of the appeals committees available to Highway users.
For many years, the Company has led the innovative vision of balance required between the development of transportation projects and the preservation of nature and the environment. Many environmental preservation activities were carried out for the first time as part of these projects. The Company continues to rigorously preserve the surrounding nature and landscapes across the diverse geographical areas of its projects.
In addition, the Company is very meticulous concerning safety in all its projects, taking care and contributing to the safety of drivers and driving, both in the planning stage and in the implementation stage.
In the coming years, the Company plans to continue developing its activity as a leading government arm in the field of transportation infrastructure.
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