Tempe repairs to take 3 months

A key section of the Athens-Thessaloniki national road in the Vale of Tempe in central Greece, closed following a fatal landslide on December 18, is to remain cordoned off to traffic for at least another three months for the necessary works to be carried out, it has emerged. Authorities had originally indicated that the busy section of road would be restored by the end of this month. But Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas admitted in a speech before Parliament on Thursday that it would take about a month for the rocky mountain slopes lining the highway to be «tidied up» and at least another two months for the rocks to be secured with wire netting to avert other landslides. But the works cannot begin until the ministry receives a feasibility study from the company entrusted with carrying out the project. Reppas had been due to receive the report yesterday. Meanwhile officials of the state-run Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) have been seeking to rent dozens of special wagons for the transportation of buses and coaches that are having to take long diversions because of the closure in the Vale of Tempe. In a related development, Larissa prefectural officials have sought government mediation, complaining that drivers of large trucks and other heavy vehicles are wreaking traffic chaos in several villages by using country roads rather than the recommended diversions. The intercity bus (KTEL) ticket offices in Athens and Thessaloniki on Thursday offered discounts of up to 50 percent for routes between the two main cities because of the disruptions.

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