NEWS

Kifissos projects are expected to be ready by April next year

Athenians plagued by the flooding of the Kifissos River this past year will feel a lot safer come April 2004, when anti-flooding works being carried out on the riverbed are scheduled to be completed. Officials of the Ministry of the Environment and Public Works (YPEHODE) who took journalists on a tour of the work sites last Tuesday say the work completed so far has improved the situation markedly in the following ways: – The river has been widened by 80 percent along a 3-kilometer (1.86-mile) stretch starting at the bay of Faliron. – Work is under way to deepen and reshape the riverbed. – Efforts to clear the canal under Poseidonos Avenue are at full throttle. – The demolition of all old bridges have increased the river’s flow. Of course, it took widespread and intense flooding in the areas of Moschato, Rendi and Pireos Street for the works to be re-planned and an extra 60 million euros to be allocated to the project (total cost 180 million euros) before some signs of progress could be seen. Work is also moving ahead on the construction of the road network of Kifissos Avenue that will by spring 2004 comprise the western section of the Olympic Zone. Two low narrow bridges beside Kifissos which worsened the flooding – those on Lambrou Katsoni and Aghias Annis streets – have already been demolished and new bridges should be ready by April 2004 and December 2003 respectively. The new Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) railroad bridge is near completion and is due to open to traffic in August, allowing the old bridge to be demolished and traffic, which gets halted by oncoming trains, to be rerouted directly onto Kifissos Avenue. August should also see demolition of the bridge at Aghios Ioannis in Rendi, after the new overpass opens to traffic in late July. And the new overpass on Pireos Street (currently serviced by a metal Belley bridge) is due to be ready by late September, while the new ISAP electric railway bridge has been scheduled to open in January 2004. Simultaneously with the construction of bridges and overpasses (that have been built to control flooding) the remaining road network project is also under way. This project, expected to be ready by April 2004, will cut the driving time from the Metamorphosis junction to the Peace and Friendship Stadium down to 10 minutes. According to YPEHODE data, the foundations are already laid down for 95 percent of the main arterial road (Kifissos Ave), while work for the spaghetti junction of Poseidonos and Kifissos is also under way. This junction, which will run into Kifissos Avenue, will serve traffic to and from the Peace and Friendship Stadium, Glyfada, Piraeus and Lamia, as well as the tram, whose terminus will be located at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. Meanwhile, 28 of the 32 support pillars and 160 of the 900 meters of the road foundations of the flyover to join Poseidonos and Kifissos avenues are ready and the lines and walls of the tram bridge (presented by Minister Vasso Papandreou) are in place. The total cost of this complex network will come to 31 million euros.