Itongadol.- After endless years of planning, construction of the Tel Aviv light rail system officially began on Sunday night.
Around 10 p.m. on Sunday, several roads in central Tel Aviv were shut to traffic and dozens of construction workers started excavations near the Allenby Street-Yehuda Halevi Street intersection, where one of the light rail stations will be located.
"To be honest, I never believed this would happen," Marco, the owner of a kiosk near the new construction site, said. "They\’ve been talking about this for 20 years, and suddenly it\’s happening. It will definitely be difficult. Hopefully we\’ll get through it."
Ido, a passerby, said, "Everyone constantly whines that there is a lack of good public transportation in Tel Aviv. Now they are starting to build the light rail system. Let\’s hope it will be worth it."
The construction of the light rail system in Tel Aviv is expected to take six years.
On Sunday, a command post for the project was established in central Tel Aviv. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz visited the post later in the day.
"This a historic day," Katz said. "I\’m proud that, despite the pressures and obstacles, I stuck to my position and the project is getting underway."
Katz vowed to do everything he could to alleviate difficulties for commuters and local business owners affected by the construction.
Police officials have warned that road closures related to the construction could cause traffic problems from Ashdod to Netanya.