NEWS

Good news for the Easter holiday exodus from cities

This year’s exodus for the Orthodox Easter holiday, traditionally the biggest of the year, gets under way this afternoon as Athenians head out into the countryside despite the recent poor weather and the winter landslides that have blocked roads in various parts of the country. The good news is the weather forecast for the weekend. Unsettled conditions will continue until Good Friday, but will gradually begin to improve on Saturday, with a rise in temperatures and a drop in wind velocity, expected to continue at least until Monday. The second piece of good news is for travelers to the Peloponnese, where a 1.5-kilometer (1-mile) diversion around the collapsed section of the Corinth-Tripolis highway opens this morning. For the past few months, drivers have had to detour 23 kilometers (14 miles) through the village of Fihti, adding an average 45 minutes to their journey. Travelers will also be helped by the fact that trucks weighing over 1.5 tons are to be banned from the national highways and roads leading out of Athens and Thessaloniki and other major towns today and tomorrow, again on April 30, the eve of the May Day holiday, and on roads leading into town again on Easter Monday afternoon, May Day (Thursday) and Sunday, May 4. These restrictions will be in force from the second weekend in May and every weekend thereafter until October. For the first time, traffic police will be on increased alert in Attica and other towns, which are usually deserted over Easter. Senior police officers said that the new measure was introduced after last Easter, when there were 15 fatal accidents in which 19 people were killed. In Athens alone, five people were killed in traffic accidents on Easter Sunday.