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Flyover, construction works of expressway in Thessaloniki, to be suspended per court order

The Council of State, Greece’s top court, ruled on Tuesday that all construction works on the Flyover, expressway in Thessaloniki, are to be suspended.

The temporary order of the CoS comes after the appeals filed by several residents associations in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, due to  irreversible damages to the environment, local media reported.

The Flyover is a multi-million-euro project for the construction of an elevated expressway in the second biggest city of Greece.

According to the legal advisor of the Constantinopouli Residents’ Association, Alexandros Adamidis, with the temporary order, all the works that were being carried out in the regional area of Thessaloniki for the construction of the elevated expressway must stop as of today.

In their appeal the local associations pointed out that the construction company has started drilling operations in the streams of the famous Seikh Sou forest with the risk of causing irreversible damage to the forest. As pointed out, “among the reasons for the suspension is the creation of irreparable damage to Sheikh Sou due to the drilling on the banks of the Malakopi stream, with the consequent destruction of the ecosystem and the creation of flood conditions in case of intense weather events.”

In the request for suspension, reference was also made to the announced demolition of the bridges connecting the city to the forest (Perraivos, Agios Pavlos bridges, etc.), resulting in the difficult access of fire engines in the event of a fire and the exclusion of the residents of Thessaloniki from the forest, as well as the lack of an environmental study on the effects on the flora, fauna and forest visitors of the company’s heavy vehicle traffic on the Sheikh Sou forest roads.

The entities that have appealed against the construction of the regional flyover

First response of the government to the CoS decision came by Deputy Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Nikos Tachiaos, who said “we will respect the Court decision”and added that the ministry is in consultation with the Environment Ministry.

From the very first moment the Flyover construction started in November 2023 with several years delay,  locals complained about the lack of necessary studies ahead of the construction works in order to avoid severe traffic disturbances.

The pioneering project, the only one of its kind in Greece, covers 13 kilometers, with 9 uneven junctions, 4 kilometers of continuous flyover bridge, 8 new bridges and 3 new tunnels.

The budget is 370 million euros and will be financed with PPP. More than 1,000 workers will be employed in its construction estimated to last 3 to 4 years.

The project was praised as one with minimum environmental cost.

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