Fear of rain forces changes in Kifissos River road project

After the sandbags and temporary barriers with which the Ministry of Public Works (YPEHODE) attempted to solve the problems caused by carrying out work on the Kifissos River starting first upstream, the time had come for a radical redesign of the project itself. A few days after the tram route was altered and a few hours after Sunday’s deluge, which once more sounded the alarm in areas bordering the Kifissos River, Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou issued an order, somewhat late in the day, for changes to the project design. But the alterations, which foresee the removal of the middle pillars, mean that sections already in place will have to be pulled down. According to the new design, all the bridges crossing the river at right angles will rest on end-pillars, and therefore must be constructed differently, with the use of steel as well as cement. This will raise the overall cost of the work, to an amount as yet unknown. The reasoning behind the change is that the removal of the pillars in the middle of the river will result in significantly increased flow capacity, reducing the risk of flooding until the completion of the work, and solving the problem once and for all. Specifically, a new raised highway along the length of the river will be constructed of steel and concrete and will rest on pillars that have already been erected. The level bridges of Lambrou Katsoni Street, the urban light railway (ISAP), Pireos Street and the vegetable market extension will be built and supported in the same way. The way the riverbed is to be deepened is also to change: Dredgers will be used, as opposed to machines used for roadwork. The bridges, which have until now been one of the causes for the river bursting its banks, will be taken out of service and replaced with temporary bridges to be hired from abroad at the cost of 230,000 euros. Bridge work Ag. Anna Bridge: This will be demolished in a few days. Lambrou Katsoni Bridge: By the end of October, it will have been taken down. A permanent bridge is to be built within three months. ISAP: The new temporary bridge is to be put in position by the end of November when the existing one will be taken down. The permanent bridge will be ready in March 2003. Pireos Bridge: Two temporary bridges with two lanes in each direction will be ready around mid-December. April 2003 is the completion date for the permanent bridge. Ag. Ioannis Rendi Bridge: The permanent bridge is be complete by March 2003, when the existing one will be demolished. OSE Bridge: The permanent bridge is under construction, and will be ready by the end of April 2003, when the existing bridge is to be taken down. However, according to the minister, despite these alterations, the delivery date for the entire project, April 2004, remains unchanged.