Passenger traffic on the IR network grew by 9% last year to 42.8 million journeys, and is forecast to reach 300 million by 2040, which means a major expansion of capacity will be needed.

The proposed tunnel would parallel the existing double-track surface line and run from Shefayim near Hertzliya station on the main line to Haifa via Tel Aviv Savidor and Hahagana stations to join the line to Ben-Gurion Airport and Modi'in. Louis Berger Group also recommends laying additional tracks on the surface.

The cost of the double-track tunnel is estimated at Shekels 10bn ($US 2.65bn).