Construction of Line 4 of the Athens metro is about to begin, after several years of delays, Transport Minister Kostas A. Karamanlis told Parliament’s Committee on Production and Trade.
The first phase of Line 4 contains 15 stations over a distance of nearly 13 kilometers, from the suburb of Galatsi to the Athens neighborhood of Goudi, and its construction is planned to take eight years from the signing of the agreement, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
The project, the largest construction project in 20 years, according to Karamanlis, includes several stations in central Athens, such as Alexandras Avenue, Exarchia and Kolonaki squares, and Evangelismos Station, where Line 4 will meet Line 3. Thus, the operation of the line, when it starts, will have a significant environmental impact: There will be 60,000 fewer cars on the street daily and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 318 tons per day, Karamanlis said.
“This is an important project that will transform the daily lives of citizens across the Athens Basin,” he said.
When the initial metro development plan was published in the 1990s, what is going to be Line 4 was going to be two different extensions of Lines 2 and 3. This planning was abandoned and the concept of a new line introduced in 2005. By the following year, its present course had been drawn.
Then, on top of the bureaucratic delays, came the financial crisis, the austerity which crippled the state’s ability to undertake large infrastructure projects. It was the previous SYRIZA government that got the project moving again, in 2017, as Karamanlis himself admitted. But legal action against the bid caused further delays. And the approval from the Court of Audit came only yesterday, the minister said.
Lawmakers” questions at the sparsely attended committee session showed that there will be no objections to the approval of the construction agreement.