Egnatia Motorway: a major extension
From the time of the Roman Empire, the Via Egnatia was one of the main routes from the Adriatic to the North Sea. The Egnatia motorway running through modern-day Greece, along with the vertical extensions due to enhance it, are vital elements in transporting traffic across Europe towards the Balkans.
The Egnatia motorway crosses the whole breadth of Greece (from Epirus to Thrace via Macedonia), ending at Turkey. It is also enhanced by nine vertical axes which will provide connections with Albania, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The project entitled "Finalisation of the Thessaloniki vertical axis" (1) will complete the upgrade of the Thessaloniki-Serres-Promahon route leading to the Bulgarian border.
Finishing off the last 44 km
This section, which is 96 km long, is part of the trans-European road network, with 52 km of it already open to traffic (2). Three sections need to be completed, each separate from the other, making up the final 44 km: Lahanas- Riziana- Strymoniko (12.6 km); Strymoniko-Lefkonas Interchange-Christou Interchange (22 km); K Ampela-Petritsiou Interchange (9.5 km).
The main works to be carried out involve:
- constructing a double tunnel 0.48 km long at Dorkada, in the Lahanas-Riziana section;
- rebuilding and reinforcing the stability of the flanks, reinforcing the safety barriers and improving the quality of the road in the Riziana-Strymoniko section (7 km);
- construction work along the entire Strymoniko-Lefkonas Interchange-Christou Interchange section (22 km);
- completing major technical work on the K Ampela-Petritsiou Interchange section and on the Sidirokastro Interchange.
These latest improvements will help cut the journey time from Lagkadas to Promahon noticeably (to 70 minutes, instead of the previous 115).
The population most directly affected by this project are the people living in the Prefecture of Serres and the surrounding region. Trade, industry, tourism and transport should be the first sectors to enjoy the benefits of this easier access to the trans-European network and to the links being developed with the Balkan countries.
The actual project is a source for creating jobs: it will provide employment for 5 503 people during the implementation phase of the project, and 92 jobs will be created during the operational phase.
Total cost and EU involvement
The estimated cost of the project "Finalisation of the vertical axis of Egnatia Odos Thessaloniki (Derveni) – Serres – Promahon: sections Lahanas – A/K Christou and K. Ampela – A/K Petritsiou" is EUR 103 077 754. The European Regional Development Fund contribution amounts to EUR 77 308 316 in the period 2007-2013.
(1) Its full name is: 'Finalisation of the vertical axis of Egnatia Odos Thessaloniki (Derveni) – Serres – Promahon: sections Lahanas – A/K Christou and K. Ampela – A/K Petritsiou'.
(2) Setting up an efficient Trans-European transport network (TEN-T) was a key element in the Lisbon Strategy for restoring employment and competitiveness in Europe. Upgrading the road network and making it safe is one of the themes of this policy.