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Plans for road connection between Elliniko and Athens International Airport via Argyroupolis Tunnel

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Οδική Σήραγγα

The connection of Elliniko area to Athens Airport, El. Venizelos, via Argyroupolis Tunnel is now under consideration. According to information of ypodomes.com, a crucial step was taken last Friday, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Environment and Energy.

In the cooperation framework, decisions were made regarding the procedures for determining the evaluation criteria -and their weight- as well as the procedure for the evaluation of Attica’s road axes to be implemented in the next period, which appear to be finalized within the basic scenario.

The document that has been composed by a joint working group highlights the willingness of the Ministries to cooperate on the activation and alignment with Attica’s Regulatory Plan, following what was said at the joint meeting between the Secretary Generals.

Attiki Motorway extension and other road projects

According to the same sources, issues are also being discussed, at a Secretary Generals’ level, regarding major structural intervention projects, both concerning Attica’s Regulatory Plan and the plans of Infrastructure and Transport Ministry for the extension of Kymis Ave., the extension to Rafina (via the Airport), Ilioupolis Urban Tunnel (completion of Athens Intermediate Ring Road), Salamina-Perama underwater Road Link, etc. as well as their relevance to the development of fixed-track networks (i.e. Metro, Light Metro or Tramway and Suburban Railway), as it is provided in the ARP.

The cooperation axes include the exploration of solutions for road inteconnection of Elliniko area and Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The finalization of the investment in Elliniko plays a crucial role in connecting the area with the Airport and could even be considered necessary if one considers the traffic load that will be developed in the area upon the projects’ completion.

Of course, this would not -automatically- mean qualifying Argyroupolis Tunnel (in whatever form it’s decided), for implementation. As the same sources point out at ypodomes.com, there are 6 basic scenarios on how this connection could be made, ranging from having a road tunnel, a train tunnel (Metro or railway), alternative routes (via Vari-Koropi road axis) and more.

What is of value at the moment is that a scenario that was introduced in 2009, i.e. Argyroupolis Tunnel, is re-activated and it is no longer confined to the consideration of road interconnection only, but within a holistic approach and with full respect for the Regulatory Plan of Attica region (in order to avoid adventures in the Council of State).

The apparent shifting of interest towards fixed-track projects from clasic roads may eventually bring to the surface a dual project or the dominance of the fixed-track means of transport.

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New obstacles for Athens Metro Line 4 tender as both contenders’ appeals are sustained

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Μετρό Γραμμή 4

A major reversal for the development of Athens Metro Line 4 tender, seems to have happened yesterday.

According to sources of ypodomes.com and the first available information, the two appeals previously filed by the two finalists to the Council of State, were both sustained.

It is reminded that the two contenders are J/V AKTOR-ANSALDOBREDA-HITACHI and J/V AVAX-GHELLA-ALSTOM.

The first interpretation given is that the Council of State, having heard the arguments of both participants, essentially decided to reject the evaluations by the tender committee.

As a result, scenarios are beginning to emerge about the fate of the tender itself, that could lead even to the cancellation of the project while others talk about a decision that needs a deeper consideration.

Nevertheless, it is certain that we are at a crossroads for the sole large-scale project of the country, with a budget of 1.8bn euros that promises to revive the construction market.

According to preliminary estimates, what will be done here is to lose some more time. Sources close to the tender point out that we should remain cautious with this subject, before we say anything.

Three scenarios

However, always according to the same sources, depending on what the decision will be, we are in front of three basic scenarios. The first is to return the tender back to the evaluation stage by the competition committee while the second scenario is the cancellation of the tender altogether.

The first two scenarios are linked as either both contenders could survive or one of them, allowing the tender to go on. In the second scenario, both can be rejected resulting to the whole structure of the tender to collapse.

The third scenario is -even if the appeals have been accepted- for the tender to proceed (it is something we have seen in the past). Out of these three scenarios, the weakest one appears to be the third.

In any case, the tender enters into new adventures and a doubtful future. There are voices suggesting that it needs to stay alive and be completed because 2 years will be lost for a project that has been expected for a long time by the market.

On the other hand, there are other voices that point out that with the tender regarding the precursory being stagnant, perhaps a new tender would give a new impetus to the project.

What is currently being recommended is a careful reading of the Council of State’s decision rationale and the consequent compliance of Attiko Metro.

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Partial undergrounding of Athens Metro Line 1 to be funded by NSRF

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Συρμός του ΗΣΑΠ στον Πειραιά

The project for the undergrounding of Athens Metro Line 1 section Faliro-Piraeus, as it seems, will proceed with funds from NSRF 2014-2020.

According to information of ypodomes.com, the project’s integration into the current programming period is almost secured and the project will be able to be implemented.

This means that, once it is included in NSRF, its maturation process will run simultaneously with the preparation of its tender documents, in order for the tender to be approved by the Managing Authority. The cost of the project is roughly 100m euros.

In relevant documents from the General Secretariat of Public Investments and NSRF as well as EPDM it is noted that it is a potentially eligible project by the Operational Program YMEPERAA, provided that a corresponding decision is also taken by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

NSRF inclusion proceeds – The need for the project’s implementation

According to information available to ypodomes.com, at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the matter is moving forward and the willingness to integrate the project into NSRF 2014-2020 and more specifically in the O.P. YMEPERAA is considered certain.

It should be reminded that the Municipality of Piraeus has put the undergrounding project very high in its agenda and pushed for its implementation as it believes that the project release enough space for the creation of an avenue that can tackle traffic, especially in the summer, to and from the port.

The project involves the undergrounding of the lines immediately after Faliro Station, the construction of a new underground station named Kaminia (at the intersection of Iroon Polytechniou and O. Skilitsi streets) and the elevation of the lines at Piraeus Station Terminal.

A project with long history

Here, we are talking about one of the most classic ‘mock-up’ projects. The discussion for the undergrounding of this section has been around since 2000 as a project combined with the Tram.

Eventually, due to the reactions the tramway changed its original design and was tendered as an independent project (and is expected to be delivered this summer).

After many years and many setbacks, the project has acquired approved environmental licensing which is considered to be a major advantage that could, in theory, lead to its implementation soon, soon, upon its integration to NSRF, satisfying a decades-long request of Piraeus to stop being ‘bisected’.

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SATE: Construction companies’ day-to-day operation, nearly impossible

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With the first support measures already in place since last week for the construction sector, there is an ongoing fight for their supplement as well as the improvement of the hard everyday routine in the construction sites.

With a new letter sent to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, SATE points out that there are still serious unsolved problems that affect the very survival of the sector’s businesses.

One of these is the transfer of staff to the construction sites (due to traffic restrictions), especially for ‘away’ projects. For example, it is know, that, as far as the islands are concerned, there is a travel ban for non-residents. The problem is even worse for ‘away’ projects given that hotels and tourist accommodation have now been closed.

Another major problem is the difficulty in the supply of raw materials, spare parts and imported machinery (even for pipes and cements) and additional types of safety and hygiene equipment (i.e. masks, molds, antiseptics) for which there is a serious shortage in the market.

Also at the construction site, SATE has identified technical difficulties in maintaining safety distances and meeting a maximum number of employees per site. It is also pointed out that there is also the human factor, namely the fear and unwillingness for workers to go to work.

Difficulties in the communication with public services

The country’s lock-down to tackle the spread of the coronavirus has created side-effects in the field of public projects. As stated in the letter of SATE, the employees of technical services work less than 50% due to various permits, fear of showing up, etc.

They also avoid not only construction site visits but also to accept visits from site engineers and contractors to their offices. The same is true for tax offices and the courts.

In this letter, SATE calls for the resolution of the above problems and the integration of contracting-construction companies into coronavirus-hit businesses.

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