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Greeks to start on 4km underwater tunnel

BUILDING OF a 4km underwater tunnel, near Thessaloniki in Greece, will soon be under way after the government awarded a e472M contract to a consortium led by Greek rm Hellenic Technodomiki at the end of October.

The tunnel, which will run at least 1m under the seabed along the coast near Thessaloniki, will form part of the 6.5km six lane road bypass of the city.

Hellenic Technodomiki has a 50% stake in the consortium while construction firms Archirodon (32.5%) and Boskalis (17.5%) make up the rest. The contract with the Greek Ministry of Public Works was signed on 31 October, but still requires conrmation by the Greek parliament.

If ratified, the consortium will build the tunnel and collect the e0.90 toll on the bypass over a 30 year concession period.

The Greek government will provide e66.5M funding for the project and the rest will be funded privately by the consortium which will be paid back over the course of the concession period.

Construction is due to begin in March 2007 and complete in 2011.

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