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Israel's first bike tunnel opens

From Refaim River Park to Motsa Valley Park in 10 minutes: One of the most important projects in the capital city has been completed. The 2.1-kilometer-long Kerem Tunnel is the final segment of the 'Jerusalem Ring Route' bike path

The Kerem Tunnel, the first bike tunnel in Israel, was opened on September 9 in Jerusalem. The planning of the 2.1-kilometer tunnel was led by the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, and the Hagihon Company, with construction carried out by the Jerusalem Development Authority. Approximately 25 million shekels were invested in the project by the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, the Ministry of Tourism, the Municipality of Jerusalem, the Hagihon Corporation, and the Jerusalem Sewage Water and Purification Enterprises.  

The Kerem Tunnel offers a unique riding experience for residents of the city as well as other citizens from around the country. The tunnel is suitable for both amateur and pro cyclists, and the most advanced safety and monitoring systems have been installed.

The tunnel is part of the 42-kilometer Jerusalem Ring Route, the only bike path that encircles the capital, both the Old City and the new city. The Kerem Tunnel connects the path between Refaim River Park and Motsa Valley Park. The southern entrance to the tunnel is in Refaim Park, below the Ein Lavan spring, and the northern entrance is at the Ein Kerem River, about half a kilometer from Kerem Junction.

The Kerem Tunnel, which was first dug in the 1990s for the Hagihon Corporation's main wastewater pipeline to the Soreq wastewater treatment plant, located west of the city, is currently used for infrastructure including the Mekorot water company's fifth water pipeline to Jerusalem. The just-completed construction included the paving of the path, the installation of ventilation fans and the installation of advanced electrical and safety systems to make the tunnel safe for public use throughout the year. In addition to being part of the Jerusalem Ring Route and the city's Train Track Park, the Kerem Tunnel provides access to unique attractions including the magical Ein Kerem neighborhood, the Biblical Zoo, the Israel Aquarium, and the historic Ein Lavan and Ein Haniya springs.  

Moshe Lion, the mayor of Jerusalem, said "The Kerem Tunnel project is an amazing project, and we have done a great amount of work for it. It is the biggest bike tunnel in Israel and the fifth-biggest in the world. The tunnel that connects to the long path around Jerusalem will join both the existing bike paths and future ones that will be paved in the various neighborhoods, in order to encourage the use of bicycles among residents and visitors, as well as to promote the green revolution in the capital city."

Zeev Elkin, minister of Construction and Housing, who also serves as minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, said, "In the past, Jerusalem was an attractive tourist destination due to its glorious past, but today, in addition to its historical treasures, it offers modern tourism. The opening of the Hagihon Tunnel project serves as an additional part of the development of the city of Jerusalem, and of its transformation into an attractive tourist destination for all sectors of the public in Israel and the entire world. The tunnel will also enable the area around Jerusalem to draw visitors, and thus provide a boost to the city's traditional tourist sites. The Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, under my leadership, invests hundreds of millions of shekels each year in the development of all aspects of tourism in Jerusalem, and in creating attractions and state-of-the-art initiatives that connect our eternal capital's glorious historic past to its promising future. I invite cyclists to come and enjoy the modern bike path that passes through the special scenery of ancient Jerusalem."

Avi Balashnikov, chairman of Hagihon, said, "The Hagihon Corporation is proud to be a partner in the first sport tourism project of its kind in Israel. The Kerem (Hagihon) Tunnel is an infrastructure tunnel that has a bike path. It will be a special opportunity to become acquainted with the field of water and wastewater services, and to enjoy a special challenge."  

Artlcle Photo: Arnon Bossani

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