Pi­raeus metro ex­ten­sion held up

Kathimerini English - - NEWS -

The pro­ject to ex­tend Line 3 of the Athens metro from Ae­ga­leo to Pi­raeus, which would al­low pas­sen­gers to travel di­rectly be­tween Athens In­ter­na­tional Air­port and the port, could be de­layed by ei­ther a cou­ple of months or as long as a cou­ple of years due to legal dis­putes, it emerged yes­ter­day.

At­tiko Metro, the state-run com­pany that is re­spon­si­ble for con­struct­ing the net­work’s in­fra­struc­ture, said that its bid to award the con­tract for build­ing the 7.5-kilo­me­ter ex­ten­sion is fac­ing a new ob­sta­cle as two of the con­sor­tia barred from the fi­nal round of the ten­der process have ap­pealed their ex­clu­sion. Sources said that it should take be­tween one and two months for the cases to be heard but there are fears that if the ap­peals are re­jected the con­sor­tia could then launch legal ac­tion that would hold up the process for a fur­ther one to two years.

“It is un­be­liev­able,” said At­tiko Metro’s pres­i­dent Chris­tos Tsi­touras. “If the process had been on the right track, with­out holdups due to ap­peals, the pro­ject would have been com­pleted by to­day,” he told Kathimerini.

“In­stead of that, we have not even signed the con­tract for its con­struc­tion. In this kind of en­vi­ron­ment, how can there be much-de­sired growth?”

The 590-mil­lion-euro pro­ject was first put out to ten­der in 2007 but it was dogged by legal wran­gles as some of the con­sor­tia com­plained about the in­volve­ment of Siemens in the pro­ject. The Ger­man com­pany was slated to pro­vide the sig­nal­ing equip­ment but then came un­der sus­pi­cion of hav­ing paid bribes to Greek of­fi­cials to se­cure nu­mer­ous state con­tracts.

The pro­ject was ex­pected to take up to 5.5 years to com­plete but four years have al­ready passed with­out any work tak­ing place. Mean­while, the Court of Au­dit has cleared Siemens’s in­volve­ment in the ex­ten­sion of Line 2, mean­ing that three new sta­tions at Elliniko, An­thoupoli and Haidari can be com­pleted. It is ex­pected this will take six to 10 months.

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