The Greek government plans to set up two construction sites in the central Athenian district of Exarchia and on nearby Strefi Hill in August to push ahead with the building of the local metro stations for the new Line 4 and the development of the hill, hoping to make use of the quieter period in August when most Athenians are away.
The station is to be built directly below the square, with the line running almost parallel to Themistokleous Street. It is one of the four stations on Line 4 in the center of Athens (along with Kolonaki, Evangelismos and Akadimia) and one of those designated as being of “archaeological interest,” due to previous finds in neighboring areas.
The construction of Exarchia station is already a few months behind schedule, as the contractor’s attempts to start preliminary work have been blocked several times by a number of local residents who fear that the new station will destroy the square and change its character.
The development of Strefi Hill has also been the target of criticism as the selection of a private contractor – real estate company Prodea – to conduct the studies and the project was considered a “private intervention” in the planning of public space.
However, Infrastructure Minister Kostas A. Karamanlis has ruled out the possibility of changing the location of Exarchia station. “Citizens need it, even if active minorities react,” he repeated in an interview in May, recalling that in similar reactions that led to the cancellation or change of the location of stations, such as Agia Paraskevi and the Agricultural University, “today they wish they could turn back time.”
He also noted that the tender for the project, and thus the location of each station, was completed by the previous government in 2017. Once finished, Line 4 will run from Alsos Veikou to Goudi, cutting through a densely built section of the Greek capital that’s often plagued by traffic.
This article was previously published at ekathimerini.com.