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Metro moves

Four substantial extensions to the new Athens metro system are to be built by June 2004. Work is already under way on one, contracts for another are being let this month and bids are being prepared for two more.

The most significant is a 5km addition to the north west Blue Line tunnel, taking it as far as a new station at Stavros. This is on the line of the new highway link to the airport and interchanges with buses and taxis.

For speed, three intermediate stations will be left incomplete until 2006.

A new western extension to the rail system is also being planned by state rail builder Ergose.

Much of this 'suburban rail' will follow the highway using the central reservation but it remains unclear whether it will be finished in time.

A second metro extension has begun from Sepolia to Peristeri on Line One. Contractors Alpine Bau and Wayss & Freitag are working with Attikat on this 3km section.

A third section is planned for the extremely difficult area of the old Athens city where Monastiraki station is still being excavated after more than five years of archeology. Ground conditions are extremely difficult, engineers report.

This section has to avoid the main graveyard in classical Athens and will now be bypassed by looping the new tunnels around it.

Eight Europe-wide consortia have prequalified for this three station section to Egalio, which is likely to be let in the summer.

To the south a 1km extension of relatively difficult tunnel will take Line Two one station on from Dafni.

Here the Metro route should also interact with a planned 26km tramway running predominantly along the coast.

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