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The construction of the subway in Thessaloniki will stop again

16 March 2014 / 16:03:31  GRReporter
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The situation with the subway in Thessaloniki is unstable again. Late on Thursday, the construction consortium (AEGEK-Impregilo - Ansaldo - Seli - Ansaldobreda), via a bailiff, sent a ‘Special declaration on the suspension of work’ to the company Attiko Metro which informed that it cannot continue operating under the current conditions.

The decision comes just in time after the expiry of the six-month period given by Minister of Transport Michalis Chrisochoidis for the exit of the largest public project in the country from the continuous problems it is facing.

On Friday, the company Attiko Metro gave public information about the development of problems and said: "The project should continue seamlessly without a single day being lost, as should the construction works of all available stations (the railway station, Dimokratias, Sidrivani, Panepistimio, Papafi, Efklidis, Fleming, Analipsi, Patrikios, and Nea Elvetiaia), the Dimokratia intersection and the engine-shed, as provided by the contract."

The company also stressed that what the Minister of Transport said about the construction of the subway in Thessaloniki, is in force. The construction contract is under negotiation. Deadlines are approaching and it is time to make responsible decisions, the statement added.

The Usual Suspects

According to the information, the consortium referred to already-known problems in the letter – the fact that the Venizelou station has reached the Supreme Administrative Court, that expropriations are delayed, as in the case of the Voulgari station, as well as the fact that there is a delay of the transportation of the ΤΒΜ machine which will dig the subway.

Sources of Attiko Metro noted that complaints from the consortium were a myth, since the project was able to continue to absorb 10 million euro per month, even with the existing provisions for construction fronts.

As stated, the consortium can work at least 10 places, hiring 2,000 workers. The request of the consortium will not be accepted and Attiko Metro will ask the contractor to continue work as stipulated in the contract. By law, the company must respond within 10 days.

Part of the "drama" is expected to be clarified on 2 April, when the case with the Venizelou station will be open in the Supreme Administrative Court. According to sources of Attiko Metro, the company will not negotiate past cases, since they are either in court or in the process of arbitration.

A change is expected

Circles of the Ministry of Transport confirmed this. However, they admitted that there is a problem in terms of arbitration, since the Supreme Administrative Court has declared workload and inability to cope with the arbitration procedures of the subway. Thus, the Ministry of Infrastructure will submit an amendment to Parliament, which will provide an exit from the problems with the court.

As noted by representatives of the Ministry, this is the main problem with the current situation, since the project has money, and recently a budget of 42 million euro has been approved for the continuation of archaeological excavations.

"The issue does not scare us," said the ministry, noting that the problems of the subway will be solved.

Sources close to the project emphasized that there was uncertainty of construction sites regarding the future and noted that the archaeological excavations have been stopped. According to them, the issue with the transportation of the ΤΒΜ machine should be resolved, as well as the expropriation of Voulgari station.

Representatives of the construction industry are worrying about the development of the problem, since they admit that the implementation of the project, even under the best conditions, will lead to new extensions of the timetable of the project.

As they explained, this is due to the fact that the complexity and difficulty of the underground project does not allow changes. If, for example, a station is removed, a series of studies will have to be carried out and the project will have to be planned from the very beginning.

They also emphasized that the fact that the problem of the transfer of the TBM machine has not yet been resolved was a big mistake – it should have happened even in the case of an agreement outside the contract, which would have cost a lot to society.

It will be more expensive if there is a new competition

In parallel, they stressed that the final scenario with a termination of the contract and the organization of a competition will be much more expensive in relation to the lowest bid of the construction consortium when it entered the contest, since it will be twice as expensive with the new prices.

According to the law, if the project stops, the Transport Ministry is obliged to proceed with a final call to the contractor, and if it does not call back, procedures for the withdrawal of rights will be initiated.

Tags: Subway Thessaloniki problems stopping of construction
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