Israeli government officials have received bids from Israeli and foreign companies to design, build, finance and operate a new $400-million highway at the entrance of Jerusalem that will be one of the country's first projects to use a public-private partnership approach.

Among the companies in the running for the Highway 16 project are Israeli firms Africa Israel Investments, Shikun & Binui, Ashtrom Group Ltd, and Minrav Engineering and Building. Also vying are China Civil Engineering Construction Corp, the Pan-Mediterranean Engineering Co. subsidiary of China Harbour Engineering Ltd. and Italian firm Impresa Pizzarotti & C. SpA.

The final tender is expected to be issued in the first quarter of 2016. Under its terms, the winning bidder will plan, finance, construct and operate the highway for a 20- to 30-year period. Construction is expected to take four years with completion in 2020.

The four-lane, 4.7-kilometer-long road will extend from the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway to the Begin Highway. It includes two separate twin tunnels that will comprise 2.8 km of the route and ease traffic congestion from Israel's heavily populated Mediterranean region.

“The new road is expected to dramatically improve the accessibility to Jerusalem and serve as another major entrance to the city from the west,” says Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz.