NEWS

The winding ways of a tortuous route; decree outlines even the minor details

Seldom, if ever, has a legislative act described in such detail measures to avoid damage to the human or natural environment. But this very punctiliousness enables the act to surmount decisions on the environment made by the Council of State. The act stipulates replacing wire fences with more tasteful material, upgrading archaeological areas, preserving churches, conserving cypress trees, avoiding the felling of healthy trees over a century old in certain areas and even the protection of individual pine trees, along the length of the marathon course. In order to protect green spaces and archaeological areas, and to reduce as much as possible the effects on the human and agricultural environment, the act contains a number of provisions. Here are some as an indication: d3.2 The road to the Marathon Museum, in front of the ancient gravesite at Tsepi, will be widened by 1.5 meters on one side. The other side will be widened where possible, so as to safeguard the archaeological site. The Second Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (EKPA) will undertake systematic excavations, which will be funded by the project as a whole, before work starts, to look for any archaeological finds. Moreover, EKPA will have to replace the covering of the ancient gravesite with one that is in good taste and environmentally friendly. d3.3 A plot of land on the road to Athens, at the junction with Aristis Street, will be preserved, as the remains of a prehistoric settlement have been found there. Again, excavations must be completed by the time works to widen the road begin. d3.5 The cypress trees on the left-hand side of the road to the Marathon Tombs will not be cut down, nor will the pine tree in the middle of the road. The two large cypress trees at the junction of Marathonomachon and Spyrou Louis streets are to be preserved. Another pine tree will be enclosed in a central traffic island. Other cypresses some 10 meters away from Olympionikon Street will also be protected from felling. d3.7 Areas surrounding archaeological sites will be upgraded and improved, as will site and monument infrastructure. This will include building and improving access roads and paved walkways. d3.11 Every effort will be made to preserve the larger pine trees on the wooded stretch between Nea Makri and the Rafina junction. d3.13 The road-widening works will be carried out in such as a way as not to encroach upon the buildings of Aghia Marina. The pavement may have to be made narrower in places. d3.16 The road will be broadened toward the right, to avoid the church of Aghia Varvara. d3.17 The above will entail the building of a supporting wall, so that nearby houses are not affected. As far as possible, access to land holdings should be ensured, while the supporting wall must be aesthetically built. d3.19 In the Rafina area, the Church of the Assumption will be protected, as will the primary school. d3.23 The road will bypass a significant pine tree. d3.30 At Pallini, the road-widening works will be subject to the city plan. d5 Vegetation beyond the roadworks may not be damaged by work sites, access roads, depots or any other function related to the actual construction of the road. Work sites within the forest areas are subject to permission from the forest authorities. Felled trees will be sold according to the provisions of the forest code. d8 Appropriate signs must be put up along the length of the works, to warn clearly of possible dangers and traffic changes. The signs must be wholly visible, both day and night, with particular emphasis on lighting at night. d9 The roadworks are off limits to any persons or vehicles not having business there. Particular care must be taken to keep away children or people with some form of disability. d22 Works vehicles may not enter inhabited areas, except by permission in emergency cases, or if central roads pass through those areas. d25 Construction materials must be acquired from legal quarries. d26 Dug-up road surfaces, etc. will be sorted and dumped at approved sites. d33 Works should be carried out where necessary to ensure proper water drainage. d37 Embankments, work sites, storage areas, etc. must be planted over, after suitable studies have been carried out. Planting must begin after work is finished and must be similar to the area’s natural vegetation. d40 Generally, changes must be compatible with the natural and historical character of the area.