Metro ex­ten­sion on right track

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The com­ple­tion of seven new sta­tions on the Athens metro net­work is set to move a step closer, Trans­port Min­is­ter Dim­itris Rep­pas in­di­cated yes­ter­day, as a court ap­pears to be ready to clear the gov­ern­ment’s con­tract with Siemens to sup­ply some of the equip­ment.

The ex­ten­sion of metro lines 2 and 3 had been held up since 2008 be­cause the cur­rent and pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments were un­will­ing to sign the 45-mil­lion-euro con­tract with Siemens. The Ger­man elec­tron­ics and en­gi­neer­ing gi­ant had a deal to pro­vide the sig­nal­ing equip­ment for the new sta­tions.

Siemens’s Greek branch has been ac­cused of pay­ing bribes in the past to politi­cians and state of­fi­cials to se­cure con­tracts, so the cur­rent gov- ern­ment was con­cerned about en­ter­ing into an­other agree­ment with the firm.

“Soon, this ma­jor works pro­ject will be­come dis­en­tan­gled from any as­so­ci­a­tion with the Siemens scan­dal,” said Rep­pas, in­di­cat­ing that the Court of Au­dit was set to ap­prove the con­tract, thereby giv­ing the green light for the work to pro­ceed.

The seven sta­tions – three on Line 1 of the metro sys­tem (Peris­teri, An­thoupoli and Haidari) and four on Line 2 (Ilioupoli, Alimos, Ar­gy­roupoli and Elliniko) – were due to open to the pub­lic this sum­mer but are not likely to be avail­able to com­muters un­til some time in 2012.

De­spite the holdup, work at the sta­tions is con­tin­u­ing and the rede­vel­op­ment of a square in Peri- steri that is lo­cated di­rectly above the sta­tion has been com­pleted.

Rep­pas added that the gov­ern­ment would be in a po­si­tion to launch a ten­der for the con­struc­tion of a to­tally new line, Line 4, next year. The pro­ject is slated to cost 1 bil­lion eu­ros.

Mean­while, em­ploy­ees on the Ki­fis­sia-Pi­raeus elec­tric rail­way (ISAP) warned that al­though the line would be fully op­er­a­tional as of June 7, pas­sen­gers should ex­pect de­lays at Omo­nia be­cause they will have to change trains there. This is be­cause there will only be one track avail­able be­tween Omo­nia and Mona­s­ti­raki be­cause a court has yet to rule on whether an an­cient al­tar un­cov­ered next to the rail­way lines at Mona­s­ti­raki sta­tion can be cov­ered up again.

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