New road links ready for Games

The newly widened Vari-Koropi Avenue linking Athens’s Saronic coast with the city’s international airport and the Attiki Odos opens to traffic today, one of a series of improved arteries opening this month just in time for the Olympic Games. By the end of the month, the Environment and Public Works Ministry expects most of the projects to be ready for use, particularly the Marathon route, which has seen months of delays and a change of contractor. Both projects will be incomplete, however, as there has not been time to finish the drainage system on the Vari-Koropi route, nor the landscaping on either side of the Marathon road, which is lined with car sales yards, abandoned warehouses and other sights deemed unseemly for the millions of television viewers around the world who will be watching the final event of the Games taking place over its historic course. Two more important road links ready to open this month and which are expected to make a huge difference to traffic flow are the extension of the Athens-Lamia highway as far as Poseidonos Avenue on the coast at Faliron on July 25, and, four days later, the new section of the Athens-Corinth highway at Kakia Skala, until now a notorious bottleneck for weekend traffic. Traffic will move toward Corinth via three new three-lane tunnels, 3,750 meters long, plus one emergency lane, compared to just two lanes on the current route. Meanwhile, the new city tram service, now undergoing trial runs, is expected to open on July 19. Initially, the tram will run regular schedules from the Neos Cosmos terminus via Nea Smyrni and Palaio Faliron to Glyfada and Neo Faliron. As for the metro, a deadline of July 18 has been set for the new extension of the Ethniki Amyna line to Halandri and Doukissis Plakentias, and from there, via the light rail line, to the airport. The light rail link between the airport and Larissa Station via Doukissis Plakentias will go into service on July 30, with two trains scheduled per hour.