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Spectacular highway offers a world of opportunity

Ipeiros, Greece

The Egnatia Odos Highway, a major engineering and construction project, spans almost the entire length of Greece. The result so far is impressive: 594 km of new highway already opened up to traffic, dramatically improving access to Northern Greece and the Balkans. One section, which runs through Epirus, proved one of the most challenging from the technical point of view, and included the construction of bridges, access roads and tunnels.

One section of the enormous 594 km highway construction in Greece One section of the enormous 594 km highway construction in Greece

“The Egnatia highway is playing an important role in local development and the local economy, with significant increases in commercial and tourist traffic from Northern Greece passing through Parga”.
Mr Spiros Pigis, Mayor of Parga Municipality

The Epirus region is one of the most mountainous, sparsely populated and least accessible regions in Greece, making human and trade flows within the country and with the rest of Europe particularly challenging. With economic benefits expected as a direct result of the project, notably through large-scale investments, the project looks set to have a major impact on the livelihoods of local citizens and visitors passing through the region.

The challenge

The main Egnatia Odos Highway has been constructed as a dual carriageway, separated by a central reserve, with two traffic lanes and a hard shoulder in each direction. The 9 km Epirus section completed under this project extends from Ioannina I/C to Metsovo I/C. However, due to the difficult terrain, it proved a major challenge to engineers and builders.

Despite the challenge, the following were successfully completed: the first subproject involved the construction of access roads (four-lane highway) at both ends of the Driskos tunnel (total length: 5.3 km), and the completion of the T8 dual bore tunnel (total length: 2,620 m per bore). The second subproject involved the construction of the Arachthos bridge (total length: 1,036 m).

Economic and social gains

The main highway is expected to dramatically transform transport in northern Greece, the Balkans (and even trans-Balkan road traffic to Turkey and the Middle East) and have a major impact both on the economy (investments in freight centres, industry and tourism) and on society in general, by improving access to the cities of Thessaloniki and Ioannina which offer better education and medical care.

Technical information


ERDF over the period 2000 to 2006

EU Investment

EUR 84 170 000


Intermediary Managing Authority of the Epiros Region
Nikos, Mpaltogiannis


General Secretariat for Investment and Development
Dimitra, Stavropoulou
Tel.: 0030-210-3332402, 0030-210-3332406


Draft date



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