NEWS

Olympic coastal road project held up

Planned roadworks at the junction of Alimos and Poseidonos avenues on the beachfront at Alimos will be held up, at least temporarily, after Greece’s highest administrative court yesterday granted local residents opposed to the project a temporary injunction. The widening of the road is part of a larger project aimed at facilitating traffic to a major Olympic 2004 sports complex at Athens’s old airport on the Hellenikon beachfront. The Council of State accepted the arguments of the Alimos Municipality and the local beautification society who wanted the suspension of the joint ministerial decision approving of the environmental impact report on the project. The work is intended to enlarge Poseidonos Avenue over 2,037 meters, and Alimos’s council has sued to stop the entire project. Yesterday’s decision will be in effect until the end of February, 2002, when the Council of State will hear the main cases. The temporary decision was intended to prevent the cutting down of eucalyptus trees which line the avenue on an 80-meter-long stretch of road. It also puts a stop to plans to pour concrete onto part of the beach to widen the avenue. Athens 2004 preparations have been plagued by several instances of local residents and associations trying to stop construction work, arguing that the environment or historically important areas – such as the site of the ancient battle of Marathon where the rowing center is being built – will be harmed. Residents at Faliron have also gone to the Council of State in an effort to stop the building of a sailing center in their area. Passaris told the officers that when he escaped in February he had been given a gun by an accomplice at the Athens court complex where the police van stopped to drop off some prisoners before taking him to the hospital for tests. I do not rat on my partners, I won’t tell you anything else, he added.