Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jerusalem bridge plan dropped for good; city hall informed

Last update - 15:54 13/02/2007

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

The Jewish Quarter Development Company, which owns the land on which the Western Wall Plaza stands, decided Tuesday to completely abandon the contentious construction work at the Mugrabi Ascent in the Old City, near the Temple Mount.

The company, which comes under the auspices of the Housing and Construction Ministry, informed Jerusalem municipality of its decision Tuesday afternoon.

The director-general of the company, Nissim Arazi, told Haaretz Online that he had decided to give up on the initial proposal and investigate different solutions.

"I am not getting into considerations of guiding various external sources to authorizing the current plan or obtaining legal authorization. I am completely withdrawing the request and starting to look at other options."

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski announced Sunday night that he had decided to postpone the original construction of the walkway until zoning authorities had completed plans for the area.

The Mugrabi ramp collapsed during bad weather in 2004. The authorities planned to build a permanent walkway to the Mugrabi Gate to replace the temporary wooden bridge that had been deemed unsafe.

Security officials initially urged an alternative that did not involve destruction or excavation of the Mugrabi Ascent, such as reinforcing the existing structure. Only after they realized that an alternative solution would be complex and also involve excavation, were they persuaded to agree to the plan.


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