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A light (rail) at the end of the tunnel

by michael November 10 2008
City planningBridge of StringsMunicipal news
Bridge of Strings

No, just kidding. We're nowhere near seeing a completed light rail. But after years of "work" and the curiously rushed, corner-cutting construction of the Chords Bridge, the train inches closer to becoming a reality (or at least to meeting its next major delay) this week with an agreement between the major parties - the Municipality, the City Pass group, the French contractors and laughing-all-the-way-to-el-banco architect Santiago Calatrava himself - to begin structural and technical tests on the Chords Bridge in preparation for track-laying.

Wait. What? It took five months following the completion and dedication of the 220 million NIS bridge for the people behind it to get together and make sure they could fit some train tracks on it? Did anyone ask Calatrava if he made sure during the design phase to accommodate the weight of a fully loaded train as well, or will that require some more tests down the line? 

And while this international gaggle ponder whether the addition of train tracks will cause the Chords Bridge to fall apart into its component spans, cables and misplaced hopes, track-laying work on Jaffa Road has now made it all the way up to the Machane Yehuda market. Perhaps having learned from the terrible effect construction had on the street's businesses in the city center, the Municipality actually bothered to meet with Machane Yehuda merchants to determine the best way to keep the market lively and facilitate pedestrian traffic while the tracks go in. 

And now, Jerusalemite will take bets as to when the Jaffa Road tracks meet up with the soon-to-be-laid tracks that will emerge from the pile of rubble formerly known as the Chords Bridge. 2015? 2020? The Messianic Era? Let us know.

Photo of Santiago Calatrava's Bridge of Strings by Harry Rubenstein for Jerusalemite.

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