The newly opened 27-km section of the Ionian highway between the Amphilochia junction and the Arta ring road drastically reduces the time motorists need to reach the city of Ioannina in Epirus, North-Western Greece.
- Athens – Ioannina in 3 hours and 30 minutes at an average speed of 120km/h
- Antirio – Ioannina in just 1 hour and 40 minutes.
The 27-km section essentially completes an uninterrupted 182-km national highway and is expected to shave at least 20 minutes from the journey time for motorists using that part of the road.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis said on Wednesday that the last section linking the Ionian Highway with the Egnatia Highway is to be delivered in the coming days, with the official inauguration by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to be held in early September.
Delays had stalled the delivery of the Amphilochia-Arta section of the highway by several months due to problems with expropriations.
The projects will be considered as ‘fully completed’ when an electronic toll system charging on the basis of distance travelled would be installed in 2018.
Following consultation with the concessionaires and banks that had funded the projects, there was a reduction in the tolls charged and completion of infrastructure works, the minister said.
He noted the need to link major urban centres with the highway and the need to build anti-flooding works not provided under the original plans.
According to a Greek news website, the toll cost for Athens – Ioannina is at 37.26 euros incl the Rio-Antirio bridge toll of 13,30 euros.
For Antirio-Ioannina the cost will be at 12,45 euros, but first the toll booths will need to be installed.
PS the old ‘motorway’ was a picturesque long and winding road between gorges and mountains and villages, with crossing grannies or sheep and goat blocking the road. Occasionally, you could stop at a tavern at the side of the road and enjoy delicious local meat. If you were unlucky, you could be stuck behind a huge truck for 30-40 km. Now you can cover dozens of kilometers without distractions on a super modern highway.
Sadly, the local economy on both sides of the old highway will most likely suffer a blow.
Not to mention, all tourists who will get off at Igoumenitsa port and will not need to sail all down to Patras.