Tel Aviv Red Line Opening May Be Delayed Due to Issues
There is a possibility of a delay of months in the opening of the first light rail line in Tel Aviv. This is because issues with the stations and signaling system of the 25km underground Red Line continue to mount.
The Red Line will travel through central Tel Aviv after running north from Yolon/Bat Yam and then it would go east to Givat Shmuel and Petach Tikva.
The Tel Aviv Metropolitan Mass Transit System (NTA) has planned three lines for the city and this is the first one.
The original opening date had been October 2021, but there were delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The delivery schedule had then been updated and set for November this year and on March 15th, it was asserted that the project would open as per schedule.
However, problems were reported in a trial run carried out in the Middle of August, which were primarily because of a signaling fault.
It was carrying Ms Michal Frank, the director general of the Ministry of Transport, Ms Maya Liquornik, the chairperson of the NTA, and other senior staff of the Transport ministry.
While travelling at a speed of 80km/h, an LV had braked suddenly in the trial run. It was reported that the line was facing this fault quite frequently.
Some of the other issues that are delaying the line are related to staffing. They have not hired the staff and drivers that are needed and attracting new employees could be difficult.
This is because unemployment in the country is down to 3.8%, which is a historic low. In addition, they are also behind schedule in terms of construction.
Only five of the underground stations are expected to be functional by the opening date in November, as most of the stations remain unfinished and have finish, safety and electrical issues.
Experts are also concerned that the line could experience flooding due to the heavy rains in winter.
Nonetheless, a spokesperson of the NTA said that the line is still going to open official on its scheduled date of November 30th.
Currently, the NTA has taken to advertise in local newspapers in order to instruct drivers and pedestrians on how they need to move around the new LRVs for ensuring safety.
In February, the government awarded contracts for the Green and Purple Lines in Tel Aviv and preliminary work on these lines has already begun.
The contract for the Green Line was awarded to Electra, the Israeli infrastructure company, bus operator Dan Transportation and Alstom.
They will be responsible for designing, building and financing the Green Line, which would extend for 39km.
As for the Purple Line, the contract worth $1.015 billion was awarded to a construction company Shapir and consortium of CAF.
They will deal with the construction of the 27km long Purple Line and equip it properly. Both of these lines will be connected to the Red Line and are expected to be completed by 2027.