Attiki Odos too costly, local authorities say

Less than a fortnight after a 30-kilometer (19-mile) section of the new Attiki Odos Athens ring road became fully operational, yesterday local authorities in the suburbs traversed by the highway complained that tolls were exorbitantly high. As a result, they argued, instead of using the brand-new highway, motorists going through the northern and eastern suburbs take existing roads, adding to traffic congestion. Many of these roads have been severely damaged by the heavy vehicles used for Attiki Odos construction work. The Eastern Attica Prefectural Council decided yesterday to ask the government to implement reduced charges for partial use of the road. The current tolls – 1.80 euros for cars and 0.90 euros for motorcycles – apply irrespective of the distance covered. This was the core demand of a joint letter to the government yesterday from the mayors of eight northern and eastern municipalities.