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Public works near completion, minister says

Eight public works projects, including the completion of a new stretch of highway at the notorious Maliakos Gulf in central Greece, are due to be completed by the end of the year Infrastructure Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis has told Kathimerini, adding that future schemes would help tackle Greece’s high unemployment rate.

Chrysochoidis said that eight small and medium-sized works are due to be delivered in the next few months. They are: the last two sections of the Maliakos Gulf bypass, totaling more than 23 kilometers; a 14.5-kilometer road connecting the Kozani junction of the Egnatia Highway with the Niki border crossing; the completion of improvements to Igoumenitsa port, including a terminal building for cruise passengers; the 390-meter Tsakona bridge; a 3-kilometer road between Goritsa and Agria allowing cars to bypass Volos on their way to or from Pilio; a new 10-kilometer road in northern Crete allowing cars to bypass the busy seafront area at Aghios Nikolaos; a new airport in Siteia, Crete; and a new junction at Velestino.

“Public works were the first economic activity that collapsed as a result of the crisis,” said Chrysochoidis. “But, along with tourism, they are also the first that are leading the country’s recovery.”

The minister said the multimillion euro projects were just a precursor to other, bigger works to come.

“The completion of small and medium-sized works along with the restarting of construction on major highway projects and new, major works that will be put to tender in the days to come create jobs and lay the foundations for growth,” added Chrysochoidis.

The completion of the Maliakos Gulf stretch of the Athens-Thessaloniki highway, totaling 77.2 kilometers, will be a particular relief to government officials as the project has dragged on for almost a decade despite the fact that there have been numerous deaths on the current portion of the road.

“Over the next few months we will be delivering completed works that are significant on a regional and national level,” the general secretary for public works, Stratos Simopoulos, told Kathimerini. So far 820 million euros has been spent on the scheme.

“These include some works that had been bogged down and which improve citizens’ daily lives.”

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday August 20, 2014 (20:59)  
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