Municipal authorities ban trucks

Four municipalities in northern Athens have banned heavy lorries from using their roads, in a measure that came into effect yesterday and is intended to deflect truckers toward the new Attiki Odos highway. According to local authorities in Kifissia, Vrilissia, Melissia and Nea Erythraia, trucks weighing over 5 tons account for up to 24 percent of rush-hour traffic in their areas, clogging roads, boosting air and noise pollution to levels routinely recorded in the city center and posing a severe threat to residents. «Our municipalities’ road networks cannot support traffic that is not local, and as a result we have many accidents with pedestrian victims, mostly children,» Kifissia Mayor Nikos Hiotakis told Kathimerini. «Our districts have been designated as exclusively for habitation, and must remain so.» Hiotakis said municipal authorities had taken no action against truckers so far, in the hope that they would use the new highway. As this has not happened, local councils will impose stiff fines on drivers caught with their heavy trucks in banned areas.