Mt Hymettus ring road ready for inauguration

A new section of the Attiki Odos to open on September 3 is expected to ease Athens’s traffic congestion, particularly to and from the airport – but at a price, as the consortium managing the highway is to raise toll charges (now at 1.80 euros for private cars) to 2.50 euros as of the end of November, when the Metamorphosis-Elefsina section of the highway opens. The extra 8 kilometers (5 miles) of highway on Mt Hymettus is expected to draw traffic from Kifissias and Mesogeion avenues, now choked by roadwork for flyovers, and will provide fast links between the eastern and northeastern suburbs (Zografou, Ilissia, Vyronas, Kaisariani, Papagou, Holargos, Aghia Paraskevi) with the southeastern districts of Ilioupolis, Argyroupolis and Hellenikon, and with the airport and the Athens-Lamia highway. According to Vassilis Halkias, managing director of the Attikes Diadromes firm, Mesogeion Avenue will have another artery parallel to it. «Traffic along Kifissias Avenue should also improve as the southeastern suburbs will have a faster alternative route to business areas, such as Maroussi and other northern suburbs,» he told Kathimerini. The congested road network in the northern suburbs (Holargos, Papagou, Aghia Paraskevi), on the other hand, is expected to intensify as vehicles arrive off the Attiki Odos. The Hymettus ring road will have five intersections, with access from a main station at the Katehaki intersection with a link to Athens, Zografou, Kaisariani and the southeastern suburbs, with a total of 15 access lanes and four other toll posts at: – Papagou, via Anastaseos Street. – Dimokritos, via Neapoleos Street, for access to Holargos. – Kleisthenous, via Gravias and Trikalon streets, for access to Aghia Paraskevi. – Glyka Nera, linking the Attiki Odos with Glyka Nera and Lavriou Avenue. Along most of the highway, there are three lanes in each direction. What is new for Greece is the fact that parts of the highway pass through tunnels alternating with open sections, with 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) of the total 8 passing through 22 tunnels each 100-650 meters in length. At the end of November, well ahead of schedule, the Metamorphosis-Elefsina section of the Attiki Odos is to be opened, leaving only the Stavros section left to be completed, linking the two national highways (Athens-Lamia, Athens-Corinth), giving travelers to the Peloponnese another way out of town.