The city of Jerusalem began works two weeks ago on a road that will connect the capital’s northeastern neighborhoods to Jerusalem’s main traffic artery, Menachem Begin Boulevard, as part of a policy to stregthen bonds between neighborhoods across the Green Line and the rest of the city.
The neighborhoods to be connected by the new route are Pisgat Ze’ev, Neve Yaakov, Anatot, Shoafat, and Beit Hanina; the route 20 project will also link Jerusalem’s northern neighborhoods with route 443, which in some places crosses through the West Bank.
Jerusalem’s municipality, along with the Moriah Jerusalem Development Company, is advancing the project with an investment of over NIS 150 million. Work is expected to go on for 14 months.
The next stages will see the completion of a bridge over route 50, with another bridge to be constructed over Nahal Atarot due east. Route 20 will be extended to link the latter to Beit Hanina intersection.
Moriah director general Alex Weisman was cited by the Mateh Beinymin Regional Council’s website as saying that in recent years “route 20 has become an important tool to develop those parts of the city which it serves.”
Weisman added that he was “sure that linking the connection of the city’s northeastern neighborhoods would enable the development of the area and will benefit the entire city.”
The plan was approved a year ago by the planning committee of the West Bank’s civil administration, after the panel had rejected the opposition by the NGO Peace Now.
Peace Now representatives argue that the “road’s current route isn’t legal, since the plan designates occupied territory for permanent infrastructures for the occupying power, while completely disregarding the needs of the Palestinian residents in Beit Hanina and the area.”
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