Solution found for delayed Thessaloniki metro

A deadlock that arose from the discovery of precious archaeological finds which has long stalled the construction of a metro line in the northern port city of Thessaloniki could soon be overcome following an apparent compromise between city authorities who want to protect the ruins and Attiko Metro, the company in charge of the project.

Culture Minister Panos Panayiotipoulos said on Thursday that a solution has been found that will allow engineers to continue with the rail project without destroying what archaeologists say are the remains of a 4th century BC market.

According to the plan, prepared by scientists at the city’s Aristotle University in partnership with Technical Chamber experts, the ruins will be lifted in order to allow work to continue beneath before they are returned to their original position. About 80 percent of the ancient remains will be preserved. “This will save a great collection of monuments which are emblematic for the city,” Panayiotopoulos said.

The project, which is about four years behind schedule, is expected to be completed around 2016. Some 12 kilometers have been opened up in seven years.

Meanwhile, in a warning to Attico Metro on Thursday, Infrastructure Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said the result of the project’s tender will be declared null in case of further delays.