The Allenby Bridge border crossing, also known as the King Hussein Bridge terminal, which serves as the main crossing point between Israel and Jordan, will be upgraded at a cost of NIS 450 million.
The goal of the renovations is to increase capacity and improve the level of service to the public using it.
Some 2.3 million people pass through the crossing every year, most of them Palestinians, and the rest are tourists. It is also used for the transfer of merchandise: every year, about 50,000 trucks pass through the crossing.
Plans to upgrade the crossing, both short and long term, include improving the passenger halls and building a new terminal at a cost of NIS 200 million. In this manner, the operational hours of the terminal will be expanded.
In addition, new security technologies will be integrated, border control services will be improved, and the terminal access roads as well as the cargo terminal will also undergo renovations and be upgraded.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz has recently visited the United States and met with US Ambassador to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, who presented Katz with requests regarding the border crossing between Jordan and Israel.
Among other things, Greenblatt asked to expand the crossing's operational hours to 24 hours a day. Currently, it operates on weekdays from 7:30am to 1:30am and on weekends, from 7:30am to 3:00pm.
The minister responded to this request and instructed the Israel Airports Authority, which is responsible for the ground crossings, to open the terminal around the clock.
In addition to the passage of the Palestinian residents, there is also a terminal for tourists. This crossing became fully operational a year ago and runs between 8am and 11pm. Israeli citizens are not allowed to cross the terminal.
The Allenby border crossing is the only exit point for the Palestinian population on its way abroad, and serves as a border crossing between Israel and Jordan and between the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
The Allenby Terminal is one of the five land border crossings between Israel and its neighbors to the east and south. It is located over the Jordan River, about five kilometers east of Jericho. The terminal is 273 meters below sea level. Travel time from the terminal to Amman is 54 minutes.
The Allenby Bridge was established during the First World War as a transition point for British forces from the East Bank to the West Bank and vice versa. It began as a simple and limited wooden bridge, but over the years it has become one of the three main bridges between the two banks.
In 1946, the bridge was blown up on The Night of the Bridges, and a Bailey bridge was built in its place, which stood on its foundations until it was blown up during thec 1967 Six-Day War. At the end of the war, with the establishment of the open door policy by the Civil Administration and Israeli authorities, the bridge was rebuilt, allowing a mass movement of Arab residents on both sides of the river.
In 1994, following the signing of the peace agreement with Jordan under the Oslo Accords, the Airports Authority assumed responsibility for the operation of the terminal.