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Which major projects have sped up in the last months

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Hurdles and problems in major projects are a common phenomenon in Greece, but some have been resolved in recent months. These issues are very important to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport as many important projects have,  that remained blocked for a long time, sped up.

In the summer when the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Costas Karamanlis, announced the underground passage of the train to Patras, a solution that put an end to the dispute that existed for years between the Municipality of Patras and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

Continuing, we had the completion of the tender for the double road connection of Lefkada with Amvrakia Odos that after almost a year and a half, the contract was signed and the project entered the construction track by AKTOR.

The baton was taken by the sweep contractor for the completion of the Amvrakia Odos highway. The tender was unblocked and then Mytilineos emerged as a temporary contractor. The competition had started in the summer of 2018 and almost 2.5 years later we are in the final stage and the only remaining matter is the presentation in Parliament and the signing of the construction contract. This project has been one of the most difficult puzzles in public works of the last decade.

Line 4 and Attiki Odos extensions

The most important issue that the leadership of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport had faced, was the tender for line 4 of the Athens Metro. In the summer of 2019, the competition was blocked by the project contenders. Then it had been suggested to the leadership of the Ministry to “keep” the tender alive and to complete it.

It took a lot of pressure on the groups claiming the project in order to stop the court carousel and finally in October, after moves by Attiko Metro, the appeals were withdrawn and the financial offers were opened and the highest bidder ABAX-GHELLA-ALSTOM consortium (the same consortium that constructs the extension of line 3 to Piraeus).

At the same time, the work of the precursor works of line 4 under the contractor ERETVO was unblocked. Now the two projects are expected to be signed gradually by February and the construction to start. The tender for line 4 had started in August 2017 and will take a total of 3.5 years to complete. It is unquestionably a huge problem that was solved as well as the biggest construction thriller of recent years.

In the projects that we also see unblocking, the extensions of Attiki Odos stand out. The specific projects remained hostage to the concession contract that expires in 2024. With the clarification that the new tender of the existing axis will be conducted by the HRDH, the auction of three extensions was announced as public projects.

The first extension concerns the so-called “urban tunnel of Ilioupolis” that will connect Katehaki Avenue with Vouliagmeni Avenue in less than 5 minutes. The second extension concerns the extension to Rafina and the third to the extension of L. Kymi to the National Road. These are three projects that had been talked about a lot but no progress. There is now  hope for their promotion.

The projects that have been completed or are being completed

The problems, however, have not solved for the projects that have not begun, but also for projects that never ended. Here we have two projects that are unblocked and finally completed.

The first is the extension of the Tram to Piraeus in combination with the return of the Tram to the city center, to Syntagma. Since last September, special equipment was installed in the problematic part of the Ilissos river and with intensive test routes, it was judged that there is no safety problem so that in a few days we will see the first official routes again to the center of Athens, two years after their suspension.

At the end of the year, it is estimated that the long-awaited extension of the Tram in Piraeus, which lasted 8 whole years, will last for six more years than the original planning (!!!).

The operation after 7.5 years of works of the first three Metro stations (Ag. Varvara, Korydallos, Nikaia) in the extension of line 3 to Piraeus is also important. The project has gone through many difficulties and their inclusion in the Athens Metro network was a difficult equation that had to be solved.

Last summer, after a 10 year interruption, the Kiato-Aigio railway section was put into operation. It now has a double line and new stations. According to the initial planning, the project should have been completed by 2017…

It is worth mentioning the beginning of interoperability on highways, i.e. the need to use only one transceiver on the country’s highways. This was achieved after efforts made by the ministry of Infrastructure and Transport so that the concessionaires can work together for the benefit of users. The GRITS system (as it is called) has been officially operational since November 4.

The problematic projects

However, problematic projects never cease to exist. The Thessaloniki Metro is the most known. Here we have a crucial meeting of the CoC for another round of appeals around the issue of VENIZELOS station. We are talking about the most troubled project in our country. At present the completion of the project is set for 2023.

The same applies to the extension of the medium to Kalamaria, which is carried away by the main project. The Freight Center in Thriasio Pedio is classified in the same category. The contract has been blocked in the Commission for two years with its currently unknown time approval (if approved).

The same happens in a series of tenders that have been expected for a very long time, such as the electric drive in the railway section Kiato-Aigio, Larissa-Volos etc.

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