Clean, quiet, and organised, the operation site of Tel Aviv’s Red Line Light Rail Transit Project undertaken by Chinese companies is working in full swing to help build the long-awaited light rail in the country.
“With the fourth out of six tunnel boring machines being assembled, our work will accelerate although we are already ahead of schedule,” said Yang Yanqi, head of engineering department of China Railway Tunnel Group (CRTG).
In May 2015, the CRTG won a bid of close to 3 billion NIS (810 million U.S. dollars) to help build the first light rail in Israel’s largest metropolitan area, the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area (Gush Dan) along the Mediterranean coastline in the west, stretching from Netanya in the north to Ashdod in the south and bordering the 1949 armistice line in the east.
Home to more than 3.7 million people, Gush Dan holds approximately 45 per cent of Israel’s population. With public transportation, mostly served by buses, accounting for less than 20 per cent of all trips, residents here produce over 6 million motorised trips each day, relying heavily on private vehicles.
High population growth, private motor vehicle usage and low investment in public transport infrastructure have resulted in growing traffic congestion. As a result, the light rail construction, scheduled for 2021, bears much hope.
While Chinese enterprises operating in Israel are enjoying a sound relationship with their Israeli partners, intercultural exchanges have also been expanding dramatically, driven by the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Between Israel and China, cultural communication and educational exchanges have been brought to a whole new level since the two nations established diplomatic relations in 1992.
From high-level reciprocal visits to people-to-people exchanges, from performances and exhibits to university swap deals, people from both sides have enjoyed an ever-deepening understanding of each other.