How to build a bridge in the Middle East
A construction site in Israel’s southern Negev Desert has begun construction of the first bridge in decades, the latest in a series of new projects in the region aimed at relieving pressure on the nation’s antiquities infrastructure.
The bridge, a 1,800-meter (3,200-foot) span of metal-reinforced concrete, will span the Golan Heights and connect the Negevi desert to the Mediterranean Sea.
Construction of the bridge began this month, with completion expected later this year, according to a statement from the ministry of infrastructure.
Construction on the project began last year, after years of delays due to ongoing unrest in the Palestinian territories.
The project has received the support of the United States, Israel’s main ally in the peace process.
“The construction of this bridge is a significant milestone for the region and is a demonstration of the progress being made to improve the health and quality of life of the Neveim residents living in the area,” said the statement.
“This bridge will contribute to the sustainable development of the entire Negeva region and serve as a catalyst for sustainable, long-term cooperation between the region’s peoples.”
The project was approved by the Ne’eman Committee, which comprises the leaders of the Israeli Knesset and a number of prominent politicians.
“Today’s construction demonstrates our commitment to building a bridge that will benefit our Negevin residents and their environment,” said Finance Minister Naftali Bennett, adding that the project will allow for the construction of “a major new highway and bridge linking the Nekem Valley and the Jordan Valley.”
The Negeveen project will also include an amphitheatre and outdoor recreation area, a zoo and educational centers.
Construction was originally scheduled to be completed in 2021, but has been delayed to 2019 due to protests against the project.
The Neveen bridge is expected to be a tourist attraction and economic development project, according a statement issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The city is the second-largest Negevir settlement in the Neqatar region, with about 5,000 residents.
The area is home to more than 50 archaeological sites, and is home for many artifacts that have never been returned to their owners, including coins and pottery dating back to the Neolithic period, according the statement from Neveiim.
“We are proud to have a bridge constructed in the heart of the desert, a place of awe and hope for the Neweim people and a symbol of peace and cooperation,” said Meir Shamir, an archaeologist who directs the Neveh-Mena archaeological site.
“I hope this bridge will be a symbol for peace and a source of peace for all of the Jewish communities in the world.”
The bridge is not expected to carry a single passenger.
It is estimated that the bridge will cost about $1.3 billion to build, according Knessets officials.