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Ministers announce funds for massive safety upgrade of deadly Route 90

Finance and transportation ministries allocate total of $118 million for widening of Negev section of Israel’s longest highway, as well as installing lighting and passing lanes

Two wrecked cars and a truck involved in an accident along route 90 in the Arava, southern Israel, May 28, 2022. (Courtesy of Arava regional council)
Two wrecked cars and a truck involved in an accident along route 90 in the Arava, southern Israel, May 28, 2022. (Courtesy of Arava regional council)

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli agreed Thursday to allocate NIS 110 million ($31.8 million) to improve safety on Route 90, one of Israel’s deadliest roads.

A roughly 100-kilometer section of road between the Arava Junction and Nahal Shita in the southern Negev region will be upgraded, enabling the installation of passing lanes, parking bays and lighting.

The funds come in addition to previously approved NIS 300 million ($86.7 million) to widen the road on the roughly 20 kilometers between Nahal Shita and Ketura Junction.

Michaeli thanked Liberman for joining the effort “to together advance these critical steps that protect the lives of commuters.”

Liberman said the plan would be an “effective, fast solution that will be carried out without delay.”

Route 90, Israel’s longest highway, runs along the eastern boundary from Metula in the north to Eilat in the south. Most of the road is decades old and currently consists of only one lane in each direction, with no divider. Its length and characteristics have made it one of the country’s deadliest routes.

A number of fatal crashes in recent years have sparked calls for significant safety upgrades on the road, which also traverses the West Bank.

In the latest deadly accident on the road, four people, including a 13-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, were killed in May in a collision between a truck transporting new vehicles and two separate vehicles on Route 90 near the town of Paran.

According to the Ynet news site, the area of the crash has been the site of 81 road deaths in less than two decades.

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