The planners of the transportation revolution in Jerusalem discovered that it would be impossible to integrate the Light Rail with the existing traffic arrangements at the entrance to the city, and required a completely separate route instead. They considered building a tunnel, but rejected this option for several reasons: the Menachem Begin tunnel that already traversed the entrance to the city, the destruction another tunnel would cause to Jaffa Road and Sderot Herzl and the anticipated environmental damage.
Eventually, the planners accepted the proposal of the Spanish architect and world-renowned bridge planner Dr. Santiago Calatrava, who designed a chords bridge inspired by the biblical verse, “Praise Him with harp and lyre” (Psalms 150). The bridge, which is 118 meters high, is constructed of four types of materials: steel, concrete, stone and glass. The main rectangular crossbeam of the bridge was designed to reduce the noise of the Light Rail, and the structure of the tracks also minimizes noise.
Although the bridge's design gives viewers a sense of hovering lightness, the bridge actually weighs 4,200 tons. It is suspended from 70 steel chords, in a unique pattern that gives it strength and stability. The sections of the bridge were built in Israel and Italy by architects from all over Europe, and quality assurance tests were conducted in various countries, from Canada to Germany.
The bridge, inaugurated in 2008, includes a stylish pedestrian walkway with a view of the Knesset, Supreme Court and Binyanei HaUmah (International Convention Center). The chords are visible from the approach to the city, and the bridge has become one of the prominent symbols of Jerusalem.