FILE PHOTO: Τμήμα της νέας Ολυμπίας Οδού στα ύψος του Κιάτου. ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ.ΒΑΣΙΛΗΣ ΨΩΜΑΣ
The completion of Olympia Odos, a 200-km motorway running along the north coast of the Peloponnese from Elefsina to Patras, was celebrated at an event organized by Olympia Odos SA at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre.
Welcoming the guests, Olympia Odos managing director Mr Panagiotis Papanikolas pointed out that the work of Olympia Odos was one of the largest and most demanding ones in Greece over the last years.
“This is a 200-km European motorway running along the northern coastline of the Peloponnese with a long tunnel, 209 bridges, a dense network of nodes and an integrated system of maintenance and security services. It also features two modern 24-hour traffic control centres, four technical service and maintenance bases, a fleet of 55 vehicles and more than 550 employees, who take care of the road every day and deal directly with each incident,” Mr Papanikolas said.
“ Despite the difficulties and obstacles as a result of the economic crisis, Greece has managed to acquire a network of modern motorways with a total length of more than 2,100 kilometers,” Mr Papanikolas stressed and added: “We are glad that Olympia Odos is an important project that helps Greece become a modern European country. The construction of a motorway cannot bring development on its own. However, Olympia Odos is an important infrastructure that can make a decisive contribution to this goal.”
Mr Papanikolas underlined that the project “can change the development map in the Peloponnese and Western Greece. It can improve the everyday life and the future of thousands of people by safely connecting three Greek regions. It can reduce the travel time from Attica to the port of Patras, which is the main gateway to Europe, to less than two hours. It can link local markets, areas of exceptional natural beauty, as well as some of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. It can also create new prospects for exports and trade, better conditions for attracting investment, but also for networking existing businesses. “
Mr Papanikolas placed special emphasis on the human factor, stating among others that “Olympia Odos is more than a modern national infrastructure. It is a road made by people for people. Behind every centimetre, there are human efforts, difficulties, small and great successes. There is the creative stubbornness that has replaced pessimism against the great problems that all the major infrastructure projects have faced over the last years.”
He also underlined that “this project would not have been realised without the financial support of the European Structural Funds, through the NSRF, but also our excellent cooperation with the officials of the relevant managing authorities.”
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis, who attended the event, noted that the completion of the Olympia Odos project has a distinctive symbolism and a particular developmental importance as it connects Athens with the third largest city, Patra, while pointing out the prospect of connecting with Ancient Olympia and Kalamata so as to close the ring of the Peloponnese. He made special mention to the fact that there have been no fatal road accidents since the delivery of the Olympia Odos project, adding that most Greek companies collaborated to implement the project.
Mr Spirtzis pointed out that “ we have turned the page into the public infrastructure sector,” saying that the road construction projects have their own significant contribution to the country’s economic development and the strengthening of its credibility.
In his address, Christophe Pelissie du Rausas, president of Olympia Odos, referred to the special importance of harmonious synergies between companies and people from different countries of the world with different cultures for the successful implementation of the Olympia Odos project. “ This project contributes to strengthening the development prospects of the region and the country’s economy in general,” said Pelissie, stressing that during its construction, priority was given to road safety, and as a result no fatal accidents have been recorded since March. “It was a long journey of ten years. Throughout this journey I keep the solidarity showed among all the people who worked for its construction,” Pelissie stated.
In his address, the president of AKTOR’s Board of Directors, Dimitrios Koutras, pointed out the fact that the motorway was constructed amid an unprecedented for Greece economic crisis, that made the project to stop for 2.5 years. Therefore, he said, “ it is a great pleasure that we managed in March 2017 to deliver to the inhabitants of the Peloponnese and Western Greece a modern highway designed with the latest European regulations on road and security issues as well as tunnel equipment with the most up-to-date automated surveillance and control systems.”
Mr Koutras also said: “We are proud to have coordinated a huge excavation work along the motorway in the framework of the construction of the project and contributed both to the enrichment of archaeological knowledge and to the discovery of important archaeological finds in many places.”
He also referred to “the solid support of the assignor, the independent engineer and the public service to the solution of many problems that arose on a daily basis, but also to all the people who worked for the project – the unskilled workers, the drivers, the engineers, the foremen, the geologists, the engineers of all the specialties, the researchers, the heads of the construction sites and the leading constructors Mr Giorgos Simantiras and Mr Ilias Degiannis, managers of the construction consortium – who all together as a team fought adversity and struggled to realise this beautiful motorway that is the pride of the Greek construction industry. ”
“ ΟLYMPIA ODOS Virtual Tour”
Virtual tour of 15 major destinations along the motorway
On the occasion of today’s event and the completion of the project, Olympia Odos presented an innovative virtual tour for 15 selected points along the motorway, with 360 high definition technology in order to “re-introduce” the North Peloponnese as a destination. “ Olympia Odos Virtual Tour” is based on impressive terrestrial and aerial spherical panoramas. The terrestrial ones create a sense of traveling from destination to destination, along the route, and the aerial ones allow the user to experience an “ air travel.”
The innovative and most impressive feature is the ability to travel in a distance of 200 km, allowing the user to “travel”, for example, from Skironidis Stones to Lake Stymphalia ,or even take a short walk along the Vouraikos river. For each destination, there is information material in Greek and English, as well as photos. In this direction, Olympia Odos seeks to motivate travelers from Greece and the world. Especially young people, who are familiar with technology and are looking for easy and fast ways to access travel content.
The ultimate ambition is for this application to support and network with other, very valuable actions – local and other ones – aimed at developing the wider region along the route.
Based on this, the application – in addition to the Olympia Odos website – will also be available in the special open spaces already created within the Motorway Service Stations (SAR) along the motorway.