Tel Aviv has announced new plans to roof over the Ayalon Highway and construct an open public space with foot and cycling paths, cafes, and sports facilities for city residents. The $525 million plan, which would cover 59 acres, is being called the “most ambitious municipal project in the country’s history.”
While New York’s High Line is built on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad, the Ayalon project will enclose a section of the highway and train tracks that are still very much in use. Some 750,000 vehicles a day use the Ayalon Highway.
“Tel Aviv-Jaffa today reached a milestone in infrastructure, environment, and architecture by beginning a project that will certainly draw national and international attention. The busiest strip of infrastructure in the Middle East, composed of a railway, roads, sewage pipelines, drainage, electricity, communications, and more, will become in a few years a fertile island of green in the heart of the city,” said Tel Aviv city council member Itay Pinkas Arad, who chairs the Ayalon roofing project steering committee. “In addition to being the largest municipal roofing project in Israel and one of the most ambitious in its history, the Ayalon roofing project will be one of the world’s most impressive infrastructure-environmental projects.”
The Tel Aviv Local Planning and Building Commission, which gave an initial okay for preliminary blueprints, said work on the project would begin in several years. The Tel Aviv municipality believes the master plan will be brought before the Local Planning and Building Commission in early 2016.
If all goes according to plan, the new Tel Aviv public space over the highway will include areas for leisure, cycling, walking, green spaces, sporting facilities, and commercial activity.
“The vision is a linking of open public space between Hayarkon Park and Begin Park to make it one long park,” Pinkas Arad told Haaretz.