Roadwork on Ayalon Highway causes kilometers-long traffic jam after Haredi lawmakers refused to allow construction on Shabbat

Heavy traffic as the Ayalon South highway at Moshe Dayan Interchange is closed for 26 hours to allow for the construction of a new pedestrian bridge, May 30, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Heavy traffic as the Ayalon South highway at Moshe Dayan Interchange is closed for 26 hours to allow for the construction of a new pedestrian bridge, May 30, 2024. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Large portions of one of Israel’s busiest roads are closed to traffic, causing heavy congestion across central Israel, as construction work that would normally be done over the weekend was moved to Thursday evening due to pressure from ultra-Orthodox lawmakers.

The southern lanes of Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway were closed earlier on Thursday afternoon and cars were diverted to a single lane, causing a traffic jam that stretched for several kilometers, Hebrew media outlets report.

Starting from 8 p.m. this evening, large portions of the road’s northbound lanes will also be closed, and train stations along the affected route will be closed.

The work will continue until Friday evening at 7 p.m., as construction is underway on a new pedestrian bridge.

The Transportation Ministry’s decision to do the heavy road work on Thursday, rather than over the weekend when trains don’t run and the roads are quieter, was made in light of pressure from the ultra-Orthodox members of the government.

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