One of the most challenging construction projects, the 196km Ionia motorway (known as Ionia Odos), is open to motorists following the official inauguration on Tuesday, September 5, by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The motorway, which took 11 years to complete, connects the northern town of Ioannina via the western mainland coastline with Patra via the Rio-Antirrio bridge and is also part of the trans-balkan Adriatic-Ionia motorway and European routes E55 and E951.
According to concessionaire New Odos, Ionia is “a safe motorway that crosses two regions and four prefectures, connecting Western Greece, upgrading important urban and rural centers such as Ioannina, Arta and Agrinio… It offers an improved link with the ports of Patra, Astakos and Igoumenitsa… and contributes to the wider development of the area by improving accessibility in areas of high tourist and archaeological interest.”
PM Tsipras stressed that the Ionia motorway will play a decisive role in the economic recovery and reconstruction of Western Greece and especially of Epirus, mainly in the areas of commerce, transport and tourism.
Starting today, the once three-hour drive from Antirrio to Ioannina will now take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
The project, constructed by Terna, includes four tunnels, 24 bridges, 77 underpasses and 24 overpasses, five motorist service stations, three operation and maintenance centers and four frontal and five lateral toll stations.
Toll fees from Antirrio to Ioannina are expected to reach 12.50 euros.