Metro closure slated for February

The on-and-off closure of the metro line to Athens International Airport, so that three new stations can be completed, appears to be on again, as sources said yesterday that Line 3 would be shut down in February. A project that should have been completed in 2006 looks to be headed for the final stretch, but it appears that work on the extension will not mean the immediate opening of all three stations: Holargos, Nomismatokopeio and Aghia Paraskevi. The Nomismatokopeio station, which lies on the border between the northeastern suburbs of Holargos and Kato Halandri, will be ready to open once the six-month project is completed. Commuters will be able to reach Syntagma Square in central Athens in just 10 minutes. However, those wishing to use the Holargos and Aghia Paraskevi stations will have to wait a little longer. Holargos station is due to be ready to welcome passengers in 2010, while commuters will be able to make their way to Aghia Paraskevi station a year later, which will represent the end of a long wait for the residents of an affluent but densely populated part of Athens. It is estimated that 60,000 people a day will use the stations. Sources at Attiko Metro, the public company that is responsible for running the service, told Kathimerini that the section of Line 3 that runs from Ethniki Amyna to Athens International Airport would be closed from February for at least six months. It is likely that a replacement bus service will be made available for commuters. Transport authorities intend to start informing Athenians and visitors about the changes from the beginning of 2009. A section of Line 3 has to be closed as the tunnel needs to be demolished at Aghia Paraskevi so that the station platform can be built and a ventilation shaft has to be constructed at Holargos. The Nomismatokopeio station is almost ready. A 630-space parking lot is being constructed and a bus terminal will also be created on the site, which will act as a public transport hub. Buses that currently terminate and start their journeys at the junction of Katehaki and Mesogeion avenues will instead head for Nomismatokopeio, which takes its name from the National Mint, located a few meters away.

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