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Western Greece: Major transportation projects underway in Achaia prefecture

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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Σιδηροδρομικός Σταθμός Αιγίου

One of the most active -construction-wise- parts of the country, tends to become Achaia prefecture, belonging in the Region of Western Greece, with many different projects being at the design or tendering stage.

The first major step was taken in 2017 with the completion of the western section of Olympia Motorway -from Kiato to Patras- changing Achaia, as the routes to other parts of the country through the new motorway network became much easier and safer.

Today, Achaia is preparing for a series of major infrastructure projects that will further develop transport networks and transform the region, with the main focus being on Patras, Greece’s third largest city.

However, this process is quite problematic as multiple factors have contributed to delaying the implementation of these necessary projects.

The active «fronts» of Achaia

The most important project concerning Western Achaia and its neighboring Ilia prefecture is of course Patras-Pyrgos Motorway and the changes that may be brought by the new Government in the «legendary» sliced project with the 8 contracts.

The second major front is the railway works which, from Aegion onwards comprise 3 sections: from Aegio to Psathopyrgos, from Psathopyrgos to Rio and from Rio to Patras Port.

The first two sections are under construction, for the new double-track railway line infrastructure. Next year will be crucial for the auctioning of projects that are essential for the reopening of the double-track line with electrification, all the way from Aegion to Rio.

The aim is for the project to have been completed by 2023 and the new, modern train to reach the  entrance of the city of Patras.

The third section prepares a contract that includes the study and construction of a comprehensive project for infrastructure, electrification, signaling, ETCS and stations from Rio to Aghios Dionysios with updated decisions being expected by the new Minister.

At the same time, the extension of the successful Suburban Railway of Patras, from Aghios Andreas to Kato Achaia, is due to operate in 2019. The first test routes will start in the next few days.

Apart from the above, another issue is the arrival of the natural gas. Movements are constantly taking place but to this day there are not any definite plans.

Another critical infrastructure is the completion of Peiros-Parapiros Dam which is in its final stage of construction. The debate remains about who will be the administrator of a project promising to solve water supply and irrigation issues throughout Achaia.

Finally, the completion of the construction works in the Port of Patras is expected soon. Here, due to the disruption of transport networks in the previous years, a large decline in the traffic  of the port has been observed.

Today, its lack of connection with the railway network is directly connected to its disadvantage in the freight transport sector, while in other ports such as Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Volos and Alexandroupolis, this infrastructure is directly linked to their growth path.

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Doha Metro Green Line starts trial operation

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Doha Metro

Trial operation of the Doha Metro’s Green Line started on December 10, which means all three metro lines in the Qatari capital are now in trial operation.

The 22km line runs from Al Riffa in the northwest of Doha to Al Mansoura and interchanges with the north-south Red Line at Al Bidda and Msheireb, where there is also a connection with the east-west Gold Line.

Trains on the Green Line are now operating between 06.00 to 23.00 from Saturday to Thursday, while services start at 14.00 on Fridays.

In December 2017, Qatar Rail awarded RKH Qitarat, a joint venture of RATP Dev, Keolis and Hamad Group, a 20-year contract to operate and maintain the three-line Doha metro network and the four-line Lusail light rail network.

 

Source: railjournal.com

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Scenarios for Crete’s VOAK Motorway implementation via… Attiki Odos

Νίκος Καραγιάννης

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ΒΟΑΚ, Βόρειος Οδικός Άξονας Κρήτης

While the current double tender for Crete’s VOAK motorway axis is essentially considered to be «dead», the Ministry of Infrastructure is preparing the new model to promote the implementation of this major road project.

In fact, there is already some information available on how the new deal will look like. PM, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis has already mentioned that VOAK will be implemented using another concession. And this concession cannot be other than Attiki Odos.

After all, it is a concession that expires in 2024, so the most likely scenario is for Attiki Odos «to be combined» with VOAK Motorway, in order to secure funding for it, thus making it viable and most important, bankable.

The key point

The key point that will define the new tender that will be one and only, integrating the whole axis is the term «viable». Well-informed sources told ypodomes.com that the existing model, in addition to the complex triple process, involved a high participation of the Greek State, an exorbitant subsidy and availability payments that would raise the final cost of the project, higher than any other motorway ever built and operated in the country.

On that basis, the new model will seek a lower participation of the State and funding from another concession contract – most likely from Attiki Odos. In any case, tolls will not be avoided as they were also included in the previous concession tender, at a rate of 0,063 euro/km, as in the rest of the country’s motorways.

However, the participation of a large concession, could bring a reduction to the basic toll fare. What is also known is the intention for the axis construction in 2 phases: firstly the section Chania-Aghios Nikolaos and secondly the extensions to Kolymbari (to the west) and Sitia (to the east). The «unveiling» of the new tender and its architecture are expected by the Prime Minister, probably in early 2020.

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MEPs push for high ambitions at the COP25 in Madrid

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Πράσινη Ανάπτυξη Φυτό

A delegation from the European Parliament arrived in Madrid yesterday to participate in the COP25, where they will meet with key stakeholders in the negotiations.

An official delegation from the European Parliament will take part in the UN conference on climate change, the COP25, in Madrid in Spain this week from today until 14 December. The delegation is led by Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL), with Peter Liese (EPP, DE) as Vice-Chair.

The delegation is set to meet with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee, delegates from several non-EU countries as well as civil society representatives.

A press conference with delegation Chair, Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL), and Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans is scheduled to take place on 12 December 14.30-15.00 (TBC).

On Thursday 12 December at 12.30, Parliament is hosting a side event in the EU Pavilion focusing on the need to make all countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) more ambitious and on the role that forests play in reaching the Paris target.
Quote

“I am glad that the European Parliament delegation has come to Madrid with a very clear mandate: The EU has to increase its National Determined Contribution to minus 55% greenhouse gas emission in 2030 compared to 1990, and become climate neutral by 2050 at the latest,” says Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL), Chair of the delegation.

“While technical issues are very important, the most important thing is to continue to work for the common goal, in spite of Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. I very much support Ursula von der Leyen’s initiative to have an international alliance to increase ambition in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Developments in China, India, South Africa and Canada show that if we act in the right way, we are not the only ones that can be more ambitious.” says Peter Liese (EPP, DE), Vice-Chair of the delegation.

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