The Jerusalem Post reports that a new five-kilometer highway that enters Jerusalem from the west reached the construction stage in 2019 (Jerusalem Post, November 11, 2019). This entrance is the second one into the city coming from the west – from Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion International Airport, and the rest of the Mediterranean coast.
Jerusalem’s new entrance road, designated Jerusalem Route 16, feeds traffic into southern Jerusalem. Drivers will bypass the congestion at the Jerusalem Gateway – Sha’ar HaIr – the long-time entranceway into Jerusalem from the west. In fact, this has been the only entranceway into the city from the west. This long-time entranceway has served the city’s Central Bus Station since British Mandate times. Most buses to and from Jerusalem still pass through this “Gate to the City.” Traffic through the Jerusalem Gateway also reaches the city’s convention center as well as government buildings such as the Knesset and the Supreme Court. This traffic won’t be using the new entrance road. Also, the Jerusalem Gateway will continue to serve the city center and the Old City.
A number of years ago, a northern bypass road was built. Besides bypassing east and west the heart of Jerusalem, it serves as a direct entrance to northern Jerusalem. Consequently, the Jerusalem Gateway entrance enjoyed some relief.
Jerusalem’s new entrance road will tunnel under two hilltop neighborhoods and will have three interchanges to serve southern and southwestern Jerusalem. The entrance road is expected to open for traffic toward the end of 2022. The planning stage began in 2001.