Arison Group’s Shikun & Binui (TASE: SKBN) Solel Boneh Infrastructure and China Railway Tunnel Group won a $750 million tender by Israel’s NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System, to build the Tel Aviv light rail Red Line linking Petakh Tikva, to the Northeast of Tel Aviv, with Bat Yam to the South. The total cost of the Red Line is estimated at $3 billion and a significant portion will run underground.
Shikun & Binui is Israel’s leading infrastructure and real estate group. Its Solel Boneh unit has played a major role in Israel’s construction and infrastructure industries and built many national-public projects.
China Railway Group is a joint stock company founded by China Railway Engineering Corporation. China Railway has participated in the construction of more than 22,660 kilometers of electrified railway lines, representing approximately 95% of the total operating length of electrified railway lines in China. In 2005 and 2006, China Railway was the forth and third largest construction company in the world, respectively. In 2007, CREC was ranked as the 13th among China’s Top 500 Enterprises.
The Red Line will be the ‘backbone’ of the mass transit system, and will pass through the most congested regions of the metropolitan area, serving the greatest number of passengers when compared with future lines to be constructed in the framework of NTA’s transit vision.
In the Red Line, the city train will go from the central station in Petah Tikva, through Beilinson Hospital, along Jabotinsky St. in Bnei Brak, and through Ramat Gan. The line will continue to the Arlozorov train station, run along Begin St. and near the Azrieli Center, from where it will continue on to the south of the Kirya, Manshiyya, Jerusalem Blvd. in Jaffa, and end in southern Bat Yam. In the future there is a possibility for the line to be extended to Moshe Dayan interchange in Rishon Lezion.
The length of the line is 24km, 11km of which is in a tunnel that will be excavated underground, from Manshiyya/Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv to past Geha Interchange. The red line will include 34 stations along its route, with 24 above ground and 10 underground. The distance between above ground stations will be 500 meters. The distance between underground stations will be one kilometer.
The train traveling on the underground level will have exclusive right of way in the tunnel (without crossing vehicles or pedestrians). This will allow for a high frequency of trains. The frequency of trains in peak hours in the underground segment (from Manshiyya to Petah Tikva-Geha Interchange) is expected to be every 1.5 minutes. At other times of day, the frequency will be lower. Along the above ground route the frequency at peak hours is planned to be – a train every three minutes.
NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd. is the company responsible for the design and construction of a mass transit system for the Tel Aviv metropolis. NTA is a government company founded in 1997 for the purpose of providing appropriate solutions for the metropolis’ transit problems. NTA is leading a cultural-national revolution in the field of transportation through construction of the main public transportation system of the Gush Dan region. This mass transit system is the largest and most complex transportation project ever executed in Israel.
The Red Line will be the first of a network of Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines to be operated by NTA. This line represents part of a comprehensive plan to improve the welfare and quality of life of Israel’s citizens.
In 2010, the government passed a decision to transfer responsibility for execution of the project to NTA. Pursuant to the government decision, NTA began extensive recruitment of professionals in the fields of engineering, design, and infrastructure for purposes of the project.
The government decision (2010) to transfer execution of the project to NTA became a turning point for the project. After a brief period of organization, a series of operations were initiated simultaneously to advance all LRT and BRT lines. Relocation of infrastructure, preparation of execution tenders, change of organizational structure, and innumerable operations performed simultaneously, characterized the current phase of the project life cycle.
In 2012, the scope of operations reached its zenith, with NTA issuing some of the largest execution tenders ever issued in Israel. The list of tenders included the Prequalification phase (PQ) for the conventional NATM digging works tender, the TBM digging works tender together with the station complex tender, and the SDAG (the train system that is the heart and brain of the project) tender. The professional conferences held by the company met an active response and saw the participation of dozens of international firms, including some of the leading and largest companies. The companies came from 12 different countries, a clear vote of confidence in NTA, the project, and the State of Israel. At the conclusion of the process, 18 giant international companies, some in partnership with Israeli firms, submitted their proposals for participation in the tender.