Israel has issued two major international tenders for large-scale transportation projects: one for a contractor to tunnel the first segment of Tel Aviv's $2.5-billion light-rail system and the other for a firm to manage construction of a $400-million airport near the southern Red Sea port of Eilat.
For the Tel Aviv project's Red Line, the first of the light-rail system's eight planned lines, NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd. issued a prequalifying tender to select contractors for tunneling using the New Austrian Tunneling Method for digging in soft soil at a depth of 15 to 20 meters.
The tender is for digging a 3.5-kilometer-long light-rail tunnel, three halls and connecting safety tunnels. NTA said that a winner will be selected in the third quarter of 2013.
According to a published report, eight imported tunnel-boring machines will dig from three shafts.
NTA has issued a separate $1-billion tender to prequalify a firm to manage design, construction, installation, integration and commissioning for the Red Line's signalling and control systems. Submissions are due Aug. 20.
The 23-km-long Red Line is considered the most expensive civilian transport project ever undertaken in Israel. An NTA official said the tunneling tender comprises about 40% of the total cost. Approximately half the route and 10 of the 22 stations will be underground.
The Israel Airports Authority also issued an international tender to select a company to manage construction of the planned Timna International Airport, 19 kilometers north of Eilat. The project is due to be completed in 2017. Plans call for the airport to have a single 3,500-meter-long runway, a state-of-the-art control tower and an estimated 540,000-sq-ft terminal for handling medium- and wide-body aircraft.
The IAA said the winner will be in charge of planning, construction and project management.
The new facility will replace Eilat's existing airport, built in 1949, and will serve as an alternative international airport during emergencies. Funding will come from the sale of the existing facility, which is located on prime real estate in the center of the southern Red Sea port and resort.
There are also plans to build a state-of-the-art light-rail line to transport airport users to Eilat.
The airport is set to be named Ramon International Airport, in memory of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who died in the 2003 crash of the space shuttle Columbia during re-entry over Texas.