Karamanlis at Venizelou Station: No more myths! We want the antiquities and we want the Metro
The Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, Mr. Costas Karamanlis, visited today the construction site at Venizelou Station and inspected the works currently under execution. A meeting had been earlier convened at the premises of Attiko Metro SA in Thessaloniki, where the decision was made to set up the Thessaloniki Metro Operation Company.
During this meeting, which was attended by the Secretary General of Infrastructure, Mr. George Karagiannis, the Chairman of Attiko Metro SA, Mr. Nikos Tachiaos and the CEO of Attiko Metro SA, Mr. Nikos Kouretas, it was specifically decided that the Operation Company would emerge on the basis of a tender procedure, according to the standards for modern European Driverless Metro systems (automated lines). A prerequisite for the completion of Thessaloniki Metro in April 2023 is that the model on the basis of which the entire system will operate, must be defined now.
After Venizelou Station, Mr. Karamanlis visited the construction site of Nomarchia Station and inspected the works at that worksite, accompanied by the Mayor of Kalamaria, Mr. Giannis Dardamanelis.
In his statements, the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport reminded that he had visited Venizelou Station for the first time in October; however it was not possible at that time to decent in the Station, because only the roof slab was in place, while today the works for the removal of backfill have begun.
The Minister pointed out that the Government, the Central Archaeological Council, the Regional Authority and the Municipality, all agree that the detachment and placing back of the antiquities is the best solution. He pledged that the time schedules shall be adhered to and noted that: “Besides, one of the reasons for the Prime Minister’s visit tomorrow is precisely to stress that something is now changing in this city”.
Mr. Karamanlis stressed that: “The project will continue and will be delivered as a whole in 2023. The tender procedures related to the establishment of Thessaloniki Metro Operation Company will begin very soon. It is a fact that without this entity in place, we cannot have an operating Metro system”.
Responding to a question concerning the time frame for the establishment of the Metro Operation Company, the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport explained that as it turns out, it was impossible for the Metro to be operational in 2020 or 2021, because the time required for the relevant tender procedures alone is least two and a half years. He assured that all steps shall be taken with great care and transparency, as well as that the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport shall constantly keep the citizens of Thessaloniki informed about all its actions and decisions on the matter.
No more myths! We want the antiquities and we want the Metro
Mr. Karamanlis pointed out that detachment and placing back of the antiquities has also taken place in the next Station, Agia Sofia, which is only 400 meters away from Venizelou Station, emphasizing that by using this method the antiquities are protected.
“So, no more myths! We want the antiquities and we also want the Metro. We put into use practices and solutions that have been utilized in the Athens Metro, as well as in other major Metro systems in Europe “, said Mr. Karamanlis and continued: “Let’s leave behind the discord that troubled this city in the past and let’s look ahead”. He reiterated that all competent authorities now agree with the solution involving the detachment and placing back of the antiquities and underlined: “It is now high time for Thessaloniki to acquire a modern Metro system, with the highest of respect towards its antiquities.”
When asked about the possibility of appeals to be filed by the bidders, the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport responded: “Of course everyone is entitled to file an appeal. However, whoever files an appeal is also responsible for its consequences”. He expressed hope that any eventual procedures would be prompt and added that according to the time schedule, the archeological works will be have been completed within the next 12 months, while the construction of the Station will take 18 months.
“In April 2023, the Metro system will not operate incomplete. It will be commissioned in its entirety, including Venizelou Station, which is the prestige station”, concluded Mr. Karamanlis.
Re-designing Venizelou Station on the basis of detaching / placing back the antiquities
Photorealistic display Venizelou Station
Architectural drawings – Venizelou Station
Re-designing Venizelou Station on the basis of detaching / placing back the antiquities – Technical description (December 2019)
“Venizelou” Station is the third station of Thessaloniki Metro starting from the northwest end of the line and its expected ridership is 65,000 passengers / day.
The archeological excavation that preceded the works for the construction of the station revealed an archaeologically significant portion of the Byzantine city’s urban cluster. The archeological finds that were revealed shall be placed back almost in their entirety, i.e. by approximately 92%, at the exact same place, in terms of layout and elevation, where they were originally found. In order to achieve this, the slab of level -1 is placed at an elevation lower than the contractually foreseen elevation.
The Station building consists of 4 main levels:
- Street Level (Level 0)
The station has two equivalent entrances located on either side of Egnatia Street. Both entrances reach down to level -2, serving the archeological display area, as well as the station’s concourse level. A portion of the entrances remains open, covered with glass sheds, so that there is direct visual contact and natural light to level -1 of the archeological display area. Both entrances are equipped with escalators and staircases, with the south entrance being also equipped with an elevator.
- Antiquities Viewing Level (Mezzanine)
The mezzanine is configured in the area of the entrances, midway between the station’s roof slab and the archeological display area. It is accessed by means of the staircase and the elevator. The entire area of the mezzanine, approx. 440m2, functions as an area of display of the archaeological finds, fitted with showcases, projection screens, plates with explanatory texts, etc.
A corridor is found at the mezzanine level which bridges the North and South Station Entrances, made of a metal frame suspended from the ceiling and cladded with safety glass, a light construction that allows optimal viewing of the antiquities.
- Level of Antiquities (Level -1)
At this level, which is accessible from the escalators and the staircase of the entrances as well as from the elevator, the revealed antiquities are exhibited in close proximity to the walk path of the metro passengers. The archeological site can be directly accessed from the south entrance, offering thus a more immediate and experiential approach to the antiquities.
Archeological finds to be revealed in the course of future excavations are foreseen to be placed back in the area of both entrances at this level, as an extension to the existing display area.
- Ticket Issuing / Concourse Level (Level-2)
This level, which is typical for all stations of Thessaloniki Metro, is the level where the escalators / staircases and elevator from the street level terminate, and the level where the staircases / escalators and elevator leading to the platform level begin. It also includes the spaces and facilities for the issuance and validation of tickets, as well as the personnel rooms and the technical rooms. A space of 60 sq.m. is available at the North Entrance and 80 sq.m. at the South Entrance for the display of antiquities and information material.
- E/M Plant rooms Level (Level -3)
This level houses all other E/M Installations required for the operation of the station.
- Platform Level (Level -4)
This the level of the center platform and the tracks on either side of the platform. The two emergency stairs located at the two ends of the station begin from this level.