Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday inaugurated the new national highway linking Corinth to the western port of Patra, less than a week after presiding over the launch of a new motorway in Tempe, central Greece.
The new highway that runs from the town of Corinth across the northern Peloponnese to Patra in the west is expected to reduce the time it takes to travel to the western port from Athens to around an hour-and-a-half.
It will be operated by the Olympia Odos company. All of the lanes will be opened for the Easter holidays – tollbooths will not be in operation before the weekend – though some restrictions will apply for a short period afterwards.
Tsipras hailed the new highway as a “symbol of Greece’s ability to stand on its own two feet” and said it would mark and end to the wearisome journey that motorists had been subjected to until now.
Some of the names given to the seven tunnels along the route, however, are stirring controversy, such as that named after former socialist leader Andreas Papandreou or another dedicated to a teacher and left-wing activist, Nikos Temponeras, who was killed in a protest against education reform in the early 1990s.
One of the tunnels also commemorates Panos Mylonas, a young man whose death on the old Athens-Patra highway in a 2004 crash prompted the creation of a road safety institute named after him.