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Thessaloniki Metro: Preliminary works for Venizelou Station accelerate – Appeals to come

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Preliminary works are underway at Venizelou Station, the problematic point of Thessaloniki Metro, as about 4 m. have been excavated so far. The works, that began last January and were not interrupted even during the two-month lockdown, involve the removal of sandbags placed to protect antiquities. The ultimate goal is to reach 8 m. deep, where antiquities are located.

The most important development in terms of preparation for the main project, as ypodomes.com learns, is that last Friday the final study concerning architecture works, structural engineering and electromechanical projects, was submitted by the consortium to Attiko Metro for the construction of the Main Line.

The study complies with the recent decision of the Central Archaeological Council and is the first big step and will probably be presented by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, in the near future.

What is next

Then Attiko Metro will have to approve it, in order for the final study, which concerns the whole construction of the station, to be submitted again by the consortium, always in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture. The study, which is an update from a previous one, is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

At the same time, Attiko Metro ordered the consortium to conduct a study on the extractionand relocation of the antiquities which, in order to be implemented, must be successfully passed by the CAC.

If this happens, then after almost 10 years of endless problems, relevant works will finally begin consequently allowing the construction of the station. The Chairman of Attiko Metro, Mr. Nikos Tachiaos, said at a radio station interview in Thessaloniki that by the end of the year the antiquities will have been removed from the Venizelou Station.

New appeal to the Council of State

However, in order to reach this point, an appeal to the CoC must first be addressed, that has been submitted by the “Citizens’ Movement of Thessaloniki, for the protection of the cultural heritage”.

The appeal aims to stop and ultimately deter the detachment of the station’s antiquities. In fact, the representative of the movement Mr. Fokionas Deligiannis in his statements on a website of Thessaloniki announced a series of appeals for each decision that will be taken in relation to the specific station.

The mobility of those who react to the proposed solution may not stop at the above movement and it is possible that we will see another or similar appeals aiming to block the process.

However, the ultimate goal for Attiko Metro and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport is for the works to run in 2021 and 2022 so that it can meet the milestone in April 2023, for the operation of the Main Line from the New Railway Station to Nea Elvetia, followed by Kalamaria Branch, a few months later.

At the moment, at the front of the construction works, it is worth mentioning that the train depot has been electrified, a development that will allow the testing of the trains, as soon as the delivery of the software of the super-automatic trains is completed.

Also, the laying of the tracks (i.e. superstructure works) are about to be completed over the next period, on Syntrivani-Nea Elvetia section and on Kalamaria Branch, between Patrikiou and Mikra stations.

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