NEWS

Pireaus metro extension hit by new delay

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 on Tuesday.

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.