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The Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is a key component of Israel's transportation system, particularly in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The very large scale of this infrastructure project raises many challenges. Construction of the Red Line, the LRT's first line, is expected to last six years. NTA is ready and prepared to ensure the continuation of routine traffic arrangements while the Red Line is under construction. By their nature, projects as large as this one can cause hazards and disrupt traffic. We are doing our best to minimize the disruption of traffic and daily life for both residents and visitors to the area.
The construction of the Red Line includes ten underground stations along its route. Excavating and constructing these stations will involve blocking roads, reducing lanes and changing traffic arrangements.
This page contains detailed information on the progress of construction at the various work sites, including expected and current changes in traffic arrangements and public transportation routes. You will also find information about the cutting edge construction techniques utilized in the construction of the Light Rail, as well as interesting information about the stations currently under construction.
"I understand the central section of the Light Rail will be underground. How does that work?"
The construction of the stations and of the entire system is being carried out according to modern internationally accepted methods for construction in urban areas, intended to minimize the disruption of daily life in urban areas.
The Light Rail's underground components will be constructed using both tunnel boring machines and the Cut and Cover method. Both are explained below:
To construct the underground stations the site is first "cut", then when it is complete it is "covered" over again. To begin, launching shafts are dug, walls are cast and the chamber in which the station will be constructed is excavated. This newly created chamber is then reinforced and the ceiling is cast. Together, these form a "box" – this box is the station's main room. At this stage, the area above the chamber can be covered and daily life can resume overhead.
Once the box is ready it's a simple matter to construct the station entrances and interiors and to add the rail systems.
The tunnels between the stations are dug 20-30 meters below the surface using a tunnel boring machine, or TBM. The TBM can be thought of as a "mole", traveling underground digging as it goes. The TBM does not require that pits and trenches be dug along the roads but it may cause some noise above-ground. The TBM "mole" does not rise above the surface and so does not interfere with the city's routine traffic arrangements. It is important to note that the Light Rail tunnels are dug only under roads and not under existing buildings.
Station Construction - Step by Step
The Light Rail's underground stations are being built according to this step by step procedure:
1. Digging the shaft for the station wall – First the station's perimeter walls are dug.
2. Digging and Casting the "box" walls – After the station walls are dug, cement is poured to reinforce them and enable the excavation of the internal chamber.
3. Digging and constructing the station floor – once the station is completely dug out, the floor is cast, completing the foundation of the chamber.
4. Constructing the station edifice –To minimize disruption to the public, station construction is done in stages using the cut and cover method. Once the foundation is complete, the ceiling is cast. In most stations, the ceiling is cast in stages.
5. Digging the Light Rail tunnels – The TBM "mole" digs the rail tunnels
6. Completion of construction and commissioning – The tracks are laid down and the electrical infrastructure and control systems are installed. Testing and commissioning of the system is carried out in preparation for opening the line for passenger service.
7. Completion of the station's interior – The station's interior is completed and the furniture and passenger systems are installed.
What is a shaft and how is it dug?
A shaft is a type of pit used to insert the TBM "mole" into the ground. How is it built and dug? Like this:
1. Preparing the roads – The engineering equipment will be prepared above ground, on the roadway. Existing infrastructure (water, electricity, sewage, drainage) is removed and the area is made ready to receive the tunnel boring machine and other construction equipment.
2. Digging down to the level of the groundwater – Earlier work is reinforced so that construction can proceed smoothly.
3. Keep digging – Differing methods will be used for the different shafts to best meet the conditions of that work site. Digging will proceed to below the level of the groundwater in Tel Aviv's Herzl Shaft, digging in Ramat Gan's Galey Gil Shaft will be completed while simultaneously lowering the water level, and in the Em Hamoshavot Shaft in Petah Tikvah the digging will not even begin until the water in the shaft is pumped out.
4. Cast the floor – Because the work surface was under water, specialized construction scuba divers were utilized to cast the floor of the Herzl Shaft.
5. Build the shaft walls – The final step will be to complete the preparation of the shaft for the insertion of the tunnel boring machine so that the "mole" can begin its work.