Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, in an interview with Makedonia newspaper noted that Thessaloniki is at the forefront of infrastructure with the Metro finally being completed, but also with important road, railway, flood protection and building infrastructure projects, and is now becoming the capital of South-Eastern Europe, the capital of the Balkans.
In fact, Mr. Karamanlis pointed out that for many years nothing the connection of the port of Thessaloniki – as well as the port of Alexandroupolis or Patras – with a railway and with the national road network was totally neglected. Now, the road connection to Pier 6 is already under construction, while the railway project has already been tendered and the process is moving very quickly – with the design and construction now established for the railways – so that it will be ready in 2027.
In addition, the minister made special reference to the large package of projects, worth more than 13 billion, concerning Thessaloniki and Northern Greece in general, which is being implemented step by step.
Thessaloniki Metro: On the final stretch
Asked about the Thessaloniki Metro and its extensions, Mr. Karamanlis said that that the state is running to make up for the lost time stolen from Thessaloniki by court appeal against projectss, so that by the end of 2023 the most modern Metro in Europe will be delivered to the citizens complete and functional.
As he mentioned, the test routes continue intensively and the driverless trains come and go between Kalamaria and Sidrivani stations. The supply of the first 18 trains has been completed and 15 more are in plans. The PPP tender process for the Metro Operation and Maintenance Agency has also started.
Regarding the extensions, the Minister of Infrastructure pointed out that in the first semester, after the completion of the main project, the Metro will also reach Kalamaria, and from there on, it will proceed both to the west and to the east. The contract for Western Thessaloniki has already been signed, while at the same time the studies for the eastern part as well, i.e. the connection with the airport are progressing.
The Flyover solves traffic problems
Also, answering about the FlyOver, with a budget of 373 million euros, he emphasized that it is a project that provides a solution to the city’s traffic problem, not only for today but also for future generations. “The FlyOver will greatly ease the city’s traffic congestion. It is a state-of-the-art aerial highwaywhich will make the life and movement of citizens easier and safer. Planning for its implementation is progressing in record time and we already have a temporary contractor,” the Minister noted.
Mr. Karamanlis also made special reference to a project that was considered a “shame since 2000” and concerned the so-called “orphan kilometer” in Potidaia, which has already been delivered. The people of Thessaloniki will now be able to go to Halkidiki faster and safer. In addition, the Thermi-Galatista road, which has a similar sad history to the “orphan” kilometer, is progressing normally. By the end of August this project will also be finished, so that access to the second and third legs of Halkidiki will now be easier.
Toll-free Thessaloniki-Edessa road
But the road projects in the region do not stop, since as Mr. Karamanlis said, the Thessaloniki-Edessa route is also on track for implementation, and the Interministerial Committee for PPP Projects has already given the green light for the tender. “It is a project with an indicative budget of 358.8 million plus VAT, 80 kilometers long, with a 3-year construction period and a 27-year period of operation, maintenance and exploitation of the infrastructure. And there will be no tolls,” noted the minister,
On the question about the railway projects, Mr. Karamanlis made it clear that the government is investing in the railway, implementing the largest package of railway projects ever made in the country, amounting to almost 5 billion euros.
Specifically for Northern Greece, the minister emphasized that the railway projects Thessaloniki-Toxotes and Alexandroupoli-Ormenio are parts of the planned European railway corridor that connects the ports of Thessaloniki-Kavala-Alexandroupoli with the ports of Burgas-Varna-Rousse on the Black Sea and Danube. The tenders started in December and are now entering the stage of dialogue with the participating economic operators.
Mr. Karamanlis then explained that, despite the war and the energy crisis, which have resulted in the revaluation of materials, the Ministry has already made two very important interventions, so that no project is stopped.
Thessaloniki Transit Authority
Asked about Thessaloniki Transit Authority, Mr. Karamanlis emphasized that the government is working with a plan, to try to make the situation better.
Within 3 years, the number of buses on the road has doubled. So, in all this effort that we are doing. Also, according to the minister, there is good intention and willingness to satisfy the workers’ reasonable requests, but the workers themselves “should show the same good intention and willingness and not threaten to take the city hostage”.