NEWS

Road deathtraps pinpointed

The two most dangerous roads in Greece are the crucial Antirio-to-Arta and Corinth-to-Patras national highways, according to data made public yesterday by the government. At a joint press conference, the ministers of public works and public order, Vasso Papandreou and Michalis Chrysochoidis, presented a list of 506 deathtraps pinpointed around the country during a two-year National Technical University of Athens survey. Nearly two-fifths – 192 danger spots – were located in Attica where half of Greece’s population lives. Two spots 6 kilometers (4 miles) apart on the Antirio-to-Arta highway in western central Greece registered 41 and 34 accidents between 2001 and 2003, while another two spots on the notorious Corinth-to-Patras road – 22 and 17 kilometers (14 and 11 miles) out of Corinth – accounted for 39 and 34 crashes. The next most dangerous point, with 33 accidents, was the seventh kilometer mark on the Tripolis-to-Kalamata highway. The ministers promised to spend 63 million euros over the next three years to boost road safety, mainly by improving dangerous roads. Some of the money will also go toward upgrading the policing of Greece’s highways and on a defensive driving advertising campaign. Chrysochoidis said some 600 radar speed traps will eventually come into operation on the national and provincial road network. He noted, however, that although there was an increase in Easter traffic this year (a total of 1.54 million cars left Athens and Thessaloniki, 124,000 more than last year), there were fewer accidents and road deaths declined by nearly 19 percent. Papandreou said her ministry and local authorities had repaired 4,600 potholes in response to a total 6,500 citizens’ complaints over the new 1521 hot line for road maintenance which went into effect in February.