ECONOMY

Grand plans for infrastructure projects

Whether due to an overabundance of vision or a lack of touch with reality, the country?s Infrastructure and Transport and Networks Ministry appears to be unfazed by the ongoing economic crisis and the ensuing refusal of banks to provide funding for any of Greece?s major infrastructure projects, which most recently led to the cancellation of a tender for the construction of a new airport in Kastelli on the island of Crete.

In fact, the ministry?s proposals for a new regulation plan for all of Attica include a plethora of new roadworks projects, among which is an ambitious plan to connect the two tips of Elefsina Bay via the island of Salamina, as well as to increase the traffic capacity of the Attiki Odos ring road around Athens at its most congested stretches.

The proposals submitted by the Infrastructure Ministry to the Athens Regulatory Plan Organization were recently made public at a one-day conference.

The most striking among these proposals, which may make it into the plan over the course of the next 15 years, are the following:

– The plan to increase the traffic capacity of the Attiki Odos highway is a first, and it concerns the most congested parts of the ring road, which are at the junctions with Doukissis Plakentias Avenue and the Athens-to-Thessaloniki national highway. Infrastructure Ministry sources explain that the proposal involves increasing the number of exits and entrances in order to take some of the pressure off the existing ones.

– Connecting the two tips of Elefsina Bay is also a first, as the plan not only foresees an underwater tunnel connecting Perama with Salamina, but a connection stretching from Salamina to Pachi in Megara, western Attica, as well.

The ministry believes this project could do much to benefit the entire area as it will make the commute to and from Salamina a lot easier.

– Also noteworthy is the ministry?s proposal for the highway from Thebes to Elefsina, which is already a part of the regulatory plan. However, the ministry?s proposal agrees that the 50-kilometer highway should start at Yliki, but suggests that it end at the Aghios Loukas junction of the Attiki Odos highway instead of at the Athens-to-Corinth national road in the area of Elefsina.

– As far as the expansion of the Attiki Odos network is concerned, beyond the linking of western Ymittos to Vouliagmenis Avenue and a tunnel from Argyroupoli to Koropi and then on to Athens International Airport, the ministry would also like to see a link between the retail park near the airport and the port of Rafina to the northeast.