ATHENS – Work to open the 128-year-old Corinth Canal that connects the Aegean to the Ionian Sea – the passageway has been closed over rockfalls – has begun again after delays, and at three times the initial estimated cost.
Earthmovers were working there, said Kathimerini, the area a tourist attraction as well as shortcut for smaller ships to go between the two seas without having to take a big detour around the Peloponnese.
It is 6.4 kilometers (4 miles) long but only 21.4 meters wide (70 feet) at its making it impassable many modern ships and has little economic impact apart from a tourism draw.
Being so old it’s also subject to frequent rockfalls that block it to any ship traffic but the New Democracy government has undertaken work to fix it at a cost of 31 million euros ($34.64 million) which is far above the first estimate of 10 million euros ($11.17 million.)
Cruise operators – whose ships can’t use it – nevertheless want to see it open again because it’s a highlight for passengers as the larger vessels pass through the waters in the area.
Work on reopening the Corinth Canal will begin in January 2022, Deputy Environment and Energy Minister Nikos Tagaras said on Thursday.
Landslides had dumped up to 20,000 cubic meters of rock and debris into the water and the urgency to fix it saw work being exempted from usual environmental impact studies. It is crossed by a number of bridges, including for a motorway and railway for vehicular use.