Tel Aviv residents are hoping they will not suffer the woes of Jerusalem as bulldozers began working Wednesday on a new light rail system.
The Jerusalem light rail system began service last month after years of delays, lack of coordination, mammoth traffic jams, inconvenience and blunders.
The Tel Aviv system got off on the wrong foot 15 years ago with a cornerstone laying ceremony that remained little more than that due to financial problems – until Wednesday, when underground work began simultaneously at three different locations.
The system is planned to include subway tunnels and is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
Galit Assaf Shenhar, who was general manager of the multi-billion dollar project and has been demoted to deputy general manager, told Globes she does not know if residents will suffer like their counterparts in Jerusalem but stated that an “intensive period of the work will be in 2013-15 when the tunnels are dug and the train stations are built."
Hoping to avoid the pitfalls of Jerusalem’s project, she added, "We saw and learned from similar projects around the world. The main lesson is that there will be mistakes, but so long as the continuity of decision-making isn't derailed, progress is possible. We'll closely work with a steering committee, and we have the support of the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Finance, so I'm optimistic."
The project involved more than 20 international tenders that were issued this year.
The subway system on the light rail line will make Tel Aviv the fifth city in the Middle East to have a subway system. The others are Cairo, Tehran, Dubai and Haifa, which operated its short Carmelit line in 1959.