2004 marathon route also at risk as a result of continuing delays

The Olympic marathon course is also in trouble, as even the completed sections of the route are in poor condition due to shoddy construction, and are an indication of the way most of the Olympic Games venues have been designed and built. European Technical, the construction firm whose contract for the project has been annulled by the Environment and Public Works Ministry, said in a statement that the recent snowstorm which hit Eastern Attica caused major damage that is preventing the continuation of construction. European Technical is naturally seeking an alibi for the delays that led to the cancellation of its contract, but in this case it is telling the truth. The section of the marathon route being built by another firm is in a similar condition. Environment and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou told an interministerial meeting on the Games last week that the project would be finished by the end of May. But first a new contractor has to be named by means of a closed competition between five or six firms involved in neighboring projects. The ministry still has to settle with European Technical, which has not accepted the annulment of its contract. In an announcement the firm said it would take recourse to justice to resolve the dispute. If no compromise solution is found, a few more weeks will be lost due to the court case, with all that entails for a project that the government has classified as «urgent.»