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Studies for a new urban tunnel & express highway in Athens already underway

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Studies for a new urban tunnel & express highway in Athens already underway

The studies for the Ilioupoli tunnel and the leveling of Vouliagmeni Avenue are progressing. As the CEO of Lamda Development stated in a press conference on Tuesday, the company has undertaken the maturation studies for the project commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

According to Mr. Athanasiou, the studies are estimated to be completed and handed over to the ministry in 2023 in order to start the implementation of this major road project. The prioritization of the Ilioupoli Tunnel project as an extension of Attica Road in combination with the leveling of Vouliagmeni Street up to the height of Ellinikon will help to improve the traffic congestion observed both on Karea Avenue and Vouliagmenis Av., especially rush hour.

Why is the Ilioupoli Tunnel important?

As the head of Lamda said, the assessment that exists is that in 2026 the “uneven” Vouliagmenis Avenue will be able to operate and in 2027 the Ellinikon Tunnel will also be able to operate. Essentially, with the operation of the tunnel, three things will be achieved at the same time.

Firstly, the “free” ring in the metropolitan complex of Athens is largely completed. With Kifissos, Attiki Odos, the Ilioupoli Tunnel and the uneven Vouliagmeni Avenue, Athens will have a network of traffic light-free axes that will serve both north-south and east-west thoroughfares. In short, someone will be able to move quickly from one area to another in a few minutes, even if the distance within the urban fabric is considered far.

Secondly, the quick connection of the southern suburbs with Mesogeia and of course with El. Venizelos Airport is achieved. Today, to move for example from Alimos to the Airport, in normal traffic conditions, it takes 45-50 minutes via Vari-Koropi. With the Ilioupoli Tunnel, the time will be reduced by almost 15-20 minutes, while the Vari-Koropi axis will also be relieved of traffic.

Third, there will be much faster access to the Ellinikon pole, given the predictions for tens of thousands of visitors every day. If we imagine that today Vouliagmenis Avenue is particularly congested for several hours a day, with the operation of Ellinikon in 2026, the axis will practically turn red with traffic. With the leveling of Vouliagmeni Avenue and the help of the Metro and the Tram, it is estimated that access to the Elliniko investment site will be easier.

An example of what Vouliagmenis Av. means combined with the Elliniko area without any intervention, is what we experienced last year in the first days of operation of the Experience Park when drivers needed up to half an hour to be able to approach the area.

Equally important could be the connection of the Tram network with the Metro station in Vouliagmenis Av. as it will allow the connection of the two major avenues that cross the Ellinikon pole, preventing the use of the cars. Within the area, the relocation of the line that leads from Poseidonos Av. to the Tram Station is planned, within the corridor of the long walk from Vouliagmenis to Poseidonos.

With the connection of the Tram to the Metro station, an easy transition will be achieved within the various areas within Ellinikon and mainly from the area of Vouliagmeni to the tourist zone of Agios Kosmas.

What is the Urban Tunnel of Ilioupoli?

The urban tunnel of Ilioupoli will start approximately from Sakketa camps and end at Vouliagmenis Avenue. Various scenarios are being considered for its conclusion, including the connection at the height of the Metro Mall at the border of Agios Dimitrios and Ilioupoli. Then the project includes leveling all the nodes up to the height of Ellinikon

The tunnel will be approximately 3 kilometers long and will consist of two distinct branches, one for each traffic stream. It will have three lanes per traffic stream and the latest in road safety technology. In the project, modern techniques will be applied, as well as BIM technology, in order to contain the costs, which are currently estimated at around 450-500 million euros, at current prices.

Tarcisio Celestino

Tarcisio Celestino was previously ITA President (2016-19) and President of the Brazilian Tunnelling Committee. He was the Animateur of the ITA Working Group 12 on Sprayed Concrete Use (2005-10). He earned his doctorate degree in Civil Engineering (Rock Mechanics) from the University of California, Berkeley (1981).

He is currently Professor at the University of Sao Paulo and employed by Themag Engenharia Ltda., Sao Paulo (Brazil), where he leads the Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Geology &Transportation Engineering Design Groups. He is also responsible for the geotechnical designs of several hydroelectric power plants, subways, highways etc., including major underground works (since 1990). He has also acted as consultant.

Professor Celestino continues to contribute his knowledge for the graduate courses & research areas on Rock Mechanics & Underground Works, at the São Carlos Engineering School, University of São Paulo and for the ITACET Foundation.

2. Excursion of history and adventure in Lavreotiki
Sunday 14 May, 2023

Our destination is the exploitation galleys of one of the largest underground mines of Attica. The chambers of metal extraction, rich in recognisable minerals, combine the mystery of ancient drifts with the beauty of caves. We will wander underground for up to 3 hours and explore the maize of drifts, the chambers supported by natural as well as carved-out pillars and the stalactites decoration reminiscent of natural caves. Each of the routes we follow hides surprises waiting to be discovered! 

After we will visit the great “Chaos” sinkhole, a heart-shaped sinkhole formation 150m in diameter and 55m deep. This chiasm may have been formed by the collapse of a cave roof as many of the area’s mining tunnels end there.

Scientific theme: Underground mining activity in Lavrio

Duration: 6 hours inclusive

Detailed program

9.30-10.30 Athens-Lavrio

10.30-13.30 Underground mines

14.00-14.30 Stop at dolin “Chaos” and return to Athens

14.30 – 15.30 Lavrio-Athens

Cost per person: 40,00 €

*limited participation on a first come first served basis. In case participants are less than 20, the respective event will be cancelled and a refund wil be given.

Photo Gallery

1. We go down Athens underground. (Athens centre, moving around on foot)
Saturday 13 May, 2023

How many surprises can the Athens underground have in store for its visitors? The stroll will start from underground shelters and detention areas of the German Kommandatur, remnants of the 2nd World War in Athens. Then, we will take the steps that start off under a timeworn trap door on the side of a road or hidden away in a sidewalk flower–bed, that will lead us in a different, forgotten underground area of the city! For hundreds of years, underground pathways have been used for various and mysterious purposes. Some say that all underground pathways are interconnected although there is no proof of this. Nevertheless, the allure of an unknown world is always there, beneath the ground we walk on. We lift up the antiquated hatch and descend the stone steps.  In the catacomb, we come across tunnels of ancient aqueducts, roman baths and byzantine crypts. The Athens river is also found hidden below the ground, running in old galleys under the most central streets of Athens – we can hear the cars passing over our heads! 

We invite you to discover together the hidden secrets of our city!

Scientific theme: underground constructions of the 19th and 20th century.

Duration: Maximum of 4 hours.

Detailed program:

11.00 Meeting outside Metro Station Panepistimio

11.30 Memorial Site (Korai Street). Two-level underground shelter below the Mansion of Ethniki Insurance Company.

13.00 Catacombs of the Russian Church (Filellinon Street). Inside the catacombs a tunnel and a shaft from ancient Peisistratus aqueduct, ruins from roman baths and crypts of the Byzantine order of Likodimos -11th century.

14.00 Ilissos River (area of Panathenaic Stadium). The buried riverbed of Athens river Ilissos.

Cost per person : 35,00 €

*limited participation on a first come first served basis. In case participants are less than 20, the respective event will be cancelled and a refund wil be given.

Photo Gallery

Professor Kyriazis Pitilakis

Professor Kyriazis Pitilakis has more than forty years of intensive academic, research and professional experience in civil, earthquake and geotechnical engineering. Vice-President of the European Association of Earthquake Engineering (EAEE), ex- Chairman of the Technical Committee “Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering andAssociated Problems” (TC203) of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), and past President of the Greek Society of Earthquake Engineering. He is presently Professor Emeritus in Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece and since 2019 visiting Professor in Tongji University, International Laboratory of earthquake Engineering (ILEE), Shanghai, China.

Coordinator and scientific responsible of numerous European research projects, namely EUROSEISTEST and SYNER-G, he has a long experience in European research activities in earthquake engineering, geotechnical engineering, vulnerability and risk assessment of civil engineering structures, infrastructures and lifelines. According to the recent Stanford classification he is among the top 10 leading researchers in Civil Engineering in Greece, and among the top 10 leading international researchers in specific topics like Soil Dynamics, Engineering Seismology and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering.

Chairman of several international conferences including the 16th European Conference of Earthquake Engineering, Thessaloniki 2018 and invited keynote lecturer in many International Conferences. Author of more than 650 scientific papers (h-factor 57) published in peer review scientific journals, and conference proceedings, author and co-author in several books, editor of four books published in Springer Editions, all in relevant subjects of earthquake engineering, seismic risk and geotechnical earthquake engineering. Professor Kyriazis Pitilakis is founder and coordinator of EUROSEISTEST, a large scale experimental facility in earthquake engineering, soil dynamics and engineering seismology that is unique in Europe and worldwide. He supervised more that 30 PhD thesis and numerous of his students hold academic positions in Greece and worldwide.

Professor Kyriazis Pitilakis is strongly involved in the ongoing revision of EC8 (Part 1-Seismic Actions and Part 5-Seismic design of foundations, retaining structures, soilstructure interaction, liquefaction, slope stability and underground structures), while he has been international expert for the revision of other seismic codes worldwide.

He is member of the editorial advisory board in Springer editions (Geotechnical, Geological and Earthquake Engineering), member of the editorial board and reviewer of numerous scientific journals and member of many international societies in earthquake and geotechnical engineering.

Honors: Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques, French Republic.
Thessaloniki 06.06.2022

Professor Marc Panet

The 12th Muir Wood lecture will be delivered by Professor Marc Panet during the WTC2023 in Athens. His nomination being a Muir Wood lecturer was proposed by the French Tunnelling & Underground Space Association (AFTES) as per ITA’s Statues and By-laws.

Marc Panet graduated in Civil Engineering at the École des Mines de Paris and obtained a Master degree at the University of California at Berkeley. He started his career in 1965 at the Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussées, in Paris, where he was a Research Engineer, Head of the Geotechnical Department and Technical Director. In 1982 he joined the SHP Group, in Paris, as Scientific Director. From 1984 to 1996 he was the President and CEO of SIMECSOL; and from 1996 to 2000 President and CEO of FC International SA. Since then he has been working as a consultant. He taught at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, at the École des Mines and at the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, in Paris.

Marc has been in charge of numerous studies in geotechnical engineering for underground works, highways, bridges, and natural hazards. Among the main projects are: the Mont Blanc Tunnel (11.6km), the Frejus Road Tunnel (12.9 km), the Large Electron–Positron Collider (CERN in Geneva), the Channel Tunnel (from 1967 to the end of the construction), the Millau Bridge, the Loetschberg Base Tunnel (43 km), subways in Paris, Rennes, Caracas, Athens and Algiers, the slides of the city of Constantine (Algeria), the project of the suspended bridge on the Straits of Messina (Italy) and the project of the cable-stayed bridge on the Golden Horn (Turkey). He is presently involved in a large number of geotechnical projects.

He is the author of a large number of publications in professional journals and international conferences and of the well-known book “Calculation of tunnels using the convergence-confinement method”.

Marc Panet is a Honorary Member of the French Academy of Technology, Knight of the National Order of Merit and Knight of the Order of Academic Palms.