A Tel Aviv municipal committee on Wednesday approved an ambitious plan to cover one of the country’s busiest highways with an urban park.
The NIS 2 billion ($524 million) plan would cover some 240 dunams (60 acres) over the Ayalon highway, which runs through the center of Tel Aviv, with green spaces, foot and bicycle paths and cafes.
The large open space in the middle of an urban area will help connect Tel Aviv’s eastern and western neighborhoods, currently divided by the thoroughfare, train tracks and Ayalon river.
“The park will hopefully connect the neighborhoods of Yad Eliyahu, Nahalat Yitzhak and Bitzaron to the city center,” Itai Pinkas, a member of Tel Aviv’s construction committee, told Ynet.
“There will be no large-scale construction or malls, as that would make the city’s downtown even dirtier and noisier,” he added.
Pinkas said the the highway would not be completely enclosed to prevent heavy air pollution from building up inside the tunnel.
The Tel Aviv Local Building and Building Commission said the grey-to-green transformation will be carried out in stages, and announced the highway stretch between Yitzhak Sadeh Street in the south and Arlozorov Street in the north will eventually be canopied.
The development was proposed by Lerman Architects Ltd together with municipal engineers, and has yet to be approved by higher planning committees in Tel Aviv.
Pending approvals by various municipal and government committees, work on the project is expected to begin in three to five years.