Related Links: Chinese and Germans Build $300-Million Tunnel in Haifa


As part of its billion-dollar effort to expand its national rail network, Israel will seek global interest later this year and in 2013 on two design-build contracts for key rail projects in the country’s northern region, its most populous.

State-owned Israel National Roads Co., which oversees the country’s overall rail expansion, will manage the planned procurement of the two lines, totaling about $150 million.

 The company said that the projects are a 60-kilometer single-rail line between Haifa and Bet Shean for passenger and freight service, which also includes five stations, and a 23-km double-rail line between Acre and Carmiel, also for passengers and freight.

Linked to the latter project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corp. (CCECC) and its Israeli joint-venture partner, Danya Cebus, started work last month on two parallel, 4.85-km-long tunnels that will carry the Acre-Carmiel line under Mount Gilon. The firms were awarded the $276-million contract last year.

The two tubes will have 18 cross passages at 250-meter intervals.

The project is set for completion by the end of 2014, with line operation expected a year later. It includes two new train stations, construction of bridges over two streams and elevation of an existing highway for 1.2 km over the planned train tracks.

CCECC was also the tunneling subcontractor for the now completed, $300-million Carmel tunnel project in Haifa. CCECC was responsible for boring two sets of twin tunnels, one that was 3.5 km long and the other 1.6 km.

Transport Minister Yisrael Katz also announced that design work is due to start later this year to extend the Acre-Carmiel line to Kiryat Shmona, which is five kilometers from the Lebanon border.