New road in Crete set to improve journey times and safety

The construction of a 15.7 km section of road between the villages of Agia Varvara and Agioi Deka in central Crete benefits both local people and tourists by improving accessibility to the southern part of the island.

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The new road section forms part of the route between Messara in the south and Crete’s capital city Heraklion, which provides the island’s airport and principal sea port link with mainland Greece. Traffic speeds on the new road will increase by 19 km/hour (from 29 km/hours to 48 km/hour), which should reduce journey times between Messara and Heraklion by 55 minutes. The scheme is also expected to improve road safety by cutting the number of accidents along the route. Building works include construction of three road tunnels, five bridges and three junctions. This project is expected to create 44 jobs during the implementation phase.

Wider benefits

The road forms part of Greece’s Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T). The European Union is investing billions of Euros in TEN-T in order to improve transport links so that people and goods can move more easily in and between Member States.

The investment falls under Greece’s “Improvement of Accessibility” Operational Programme. The programme aims to improve the country’s transport infrastructures as well as its international connections. It will therefore have a key role to play in making Greece’s remote and landlocked regions more accessible and economically attractive. This Operational Programme works to link Greece’s more prosperous and less developed regions, which should help to promote greater territorial cohesion.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Completion of construction of the section of Ag. Varvara - Ag. Deka (Kastelli) (22+170 km to 37+900 km) of the vertical road axis Irakleio – Messara in the prefecture of Irakleio, Kriti” is EUR 102 273 321, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 86 932 323 from the Operational Programme “Improvement of Accessibility” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. Work falls under the priority “Road Transport – trans-European and trans-regional route network of the regions on the Convergence objective”.

Draft date

14/08/2014