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Women take a selfie in front of in front of the Church of the Nativity. (THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

It seems no place is so sacred that the trappings of modern life do not intrude–including, apparently, the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem has a traffic problem.

Here’s the Associated Press:

Traffic is a mess year-round. It may be the biblical town of grottos and shepherds’ fields in the minds of many around the world, but Bethlehem is a modern densely populated town of 28,000 with a dizzying weave of small streets that practically guarantee traffic jams.

“Bethlehem is going through a crisis,” said Anton Salman, a city councilor.

The proposed solution is sort of a mini-Big Dig–tunnels around the city, which would theoretically minimize traffic near the holiest sites:

The plan proposes an 80-meter-long (260-foot long) tunnel passing under a narrow two-lane street that crosses Manger Square in front of the Nativity Church. The project would take about two years to complete and would cost $4 million to $5 million, with the Palestinian Authority pledging to foot the bill. If the plan is approved, construction could start next fall.

It’s not a fait accompli–UNESCO needs to sign off on the plan and archeological issues are sure to arise–but miracles have been known to happen.





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