Construction stops on Hiafa's Carmel TunnelsOct 2008
26 October 2008: More than 500 Chinese workers walked of the job in Israel bringing construction on Haifa's Carmel Tunnels to a standstill.
The move is the result of a financial dispute between contractor China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), and Carmelton, the privately financed company that is overseeing the tunnel project. According to the Jerusalem Post; "CCECC is demanding tens of millions of shekels from Carmelton to pay for rising material costs and unexpectedly high expenditures."
With Carmetlon refusing to pay, the dispute has intensified, beginning with a construction slowdown more than a month ago and culminating in a complete stoppage with CCECC workers walking off the job on October 18th.
The toll road project, that essentially runs under the city, will allow drivers to avoid Haifa's congested downtown and will cut drive times from the city's southern entrance to the northern bay area by as much as 40 minutes.
The entire project is 6.5km long, including two 4.7km long twin tube tunnels. Each tube is 6.5m high x 10m wide to accommodate two lanes of traffic in each direction. The first segment runs from Haifa's coast to the Rupin Highway near the Grand Canyon mall. The second continues from Rupin to the Check Post Junction at the Northern bay area.
The project is a BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) system, under which Carmelton (owned by Ashtrom Engineering & Construction Ltd) 50%, and Shikun Vebinui Maintenance Inc 50%, - will build and operated the tunnels as a private enterprise for 35 years.
The NIS 1.25 billion project, funded entirely by private investment, is scheduled for completion in 2011.
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