Motorway operator Attiki Odos insisted on Thursday that it had called on the police to impose a preventative ban on trucks and heavy vehicles well in advance of Monday’s snowstorm that left thousands of motorists stranded on its motorway.
“The competent body for the closure of the Attiki Odos motorway is the Attica Traffic Police Directorate,” the company said in a statement.
The statement noted that when the ban from the Traffic Police came on Monday at 2 p.m., it was already too late as traffic issues had already arisen and the snowfall was in full swing.
The company said that other road closures had put the Attiki Odos under more pressure than usual on Monday morning. At 9 a.m., there were already 38,557 vehicles and 3,772 trucks on the highway, which had increased by 2 p.m. to 68,000 vehicles, 5,700 trucks and 35 snowplows.
The company underlined that it does not have the authority, under existing legislation, to restrict or ban traffic on the motorway. It has the right to propose or request measures to restrict or ban traffic but that ultimate authority in this regard rests with the Attica Traffic Police Directorate.
On Monday, a prosecutor launched an investigation into the failures of the Attiki Odos ring road to maintain normal traffic conditions and to establish whether any charges of hindering traffic can be levelled at the managing company.
On Tuesday, company CEO Bill Halkias filed his resignation.