Motorway 5 (Greece)
|Ionia Odos / Ιονία Οδός|
|Part of E55
|Length:||196 km (122 mi)|
|Regions:||Epirus, West Greece, Peloponnese|
|Major cities:||Ioannina, Arta, Agrinio, Patras|
|Motorways in Greece|
The Greek Motorway 5 (Greek: Αυτοκινητόδρομος 5; code: A5) is a motorway in Greece, partially still under construction. Upon completion, the motorway will be the second major north-south road connection in Motorway 1. It will also be part of the trans-balkanic Adriatic–Ionian motorway and the European routes E55 and E951.
The motorway's main section, commonly referred to as Ionia Odos (Greek: Ιονία Οδός), starts at Ioannina and it follows the western coastline of mainland Greece down to the Gulf of Corinth. At Rio, it crosses the gulf via the Rio–Antirrio bridge.
The southern section, commonly referred to as Olympia Odos (Greek: Ολυμπία Οδός), is fully located on the Peloponnese, attaching to the northern section at an interchange with the A8 Motorway near Patras and following the western coastline of the peninsula further down to Pyrgos. As of 2016, it is yet unknown if the future Patras - Pyrgos motorway will be part of the A5 and its construction is to be auctioned. However, it is not part of the current project.
With the bypasses of Patras, Arta and Agrinio and the Rio–Antirrio bridge being completed by 2002, 2003 and 2009 respectively, the main section between Ioannina and Rio is expected to be put into operation by mid 2017. However, several sections might be put into operation earlier, along with the toll stations of the road, as well.
The Ionia Odos motorway is one of the most challenging construction projects in Greece, as it spans a big part of Western Greece and because of its location on the foothills of the Pindus mountain range. When completed in 2017, it will reduce travel times between Antirrio and Ioannina to 1 hour and 40 minutes, down from 3 hours and 30 minutes today and among others, it shall boost the economal activity of the regions it spans (Western Greece and Epirus), which are among the poorest regions in the EU. As of July 2016, the construction progress stood at 77.09%.
The motorway consists of:
- 196 kilometres of motorway, with 2 lanes in each direction, emergency lane and Jersey barrier separation
- 19 interchanges
- 133 overpasses and underpasses
- 4 twin-tube tunnels
- 24 bridges
- 4 main and 5 lateral toll stations
- 5 rest areas (4 in both directions)
Construction of the Rio–Antirrio bridge, the world's longest fully suspended cable-stayed bridge, began in 1998, more than 100 years after a first proposal by then-prime minister Charilaos Trikoupis. The bridge was inaugurated on 7 August 2004, a week before the opening of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
Agrinio and Arta bypasses
With a length of 33 km, the Agrinio bypass was the first major segment of the northern A5 section to be completed. While construction had begun in 2002/03, it was fully put into service in May 2009. Starting from Aitoliko, the road bypasses the largest city and economical center of the Aetolia-Acarnania prefecture, Agrinio and ends in Kouvaras. It largely replaced the 12 km longer National Road 5. In July 28, 2015, a 4,5 km segment before the Aitoliko interchange became operational. This segment features the Ioannina-Antirrio carriageway, with the Antirrio-Ioannina carriageway being under construction.
The 17 km Arta bypass begins from Sellades near Arta and ends at Filippiada, near the border with the prefecture of Preveza. Its first part (Arta north interchange - Filippiada was opened in 2003 and the second part (Sellades/Arta south interchange - Arta north interchange) was opened in April 2011, with the bridge of the Arta north interchange being inaugurated on 22 November 2013.
Rest of the motorway - construction progress
As of August 2016, the 25 km Kouvaras interchange - Amfilochia interchange (Amfilochia bypass) segment is mostly completed (signaling, road markings and connection with local roads remaining) and it might be opened by September 1, 2016 or a little later. Also, the 32 km Fillipiada - Avgo segment is partly completed, but its opening is estimated by the end of 2016. The latter is one of the most difficult motorway segments under construction in Greece because of the rugged mountainous terrain along its route. The most important tunnel of the motorway, the Klokova Tunnel, has mostly been excavated and other works are undergoing. The rest of the motorway will be completed by March 2017 (without the interchanges, which are going to be ready by August 2017). However, as of July 2016, 14% of the expropriation works are still under way and certain parts (3 km between Krikellos and Anoixiatiko and 600m before the Menidi bridge) remain untouched.
Nea Odos consortium
In late 2006, construction and maintenance of the motorway's northern, Ionia Odos, section from Ioannina to the Rio intersection has been granted to the Greek-Spanish "Nea Odos" consortium, which is also responsible for the maintenance of the Athens–Skarfeia (near Lamia) section of the A1 Motorway. The consortium, consisting of construction firms GEK Group of Companies SA, Terna SA, Cintra SA, and Grupo ACS, will build and operate the road, receiving toll fees for 30 years, while investing a combined €1.15 billion in the project. The rest of the total €1.4 billion funds will be provided by the European Union and the Greek government. Construction, undertaken by the Euroionia Joint Venture (Terna SA, Dragados SA and Ferrovial SA) finally started in 2008 with a completion date of 72 months. The bill was ratified on March 28, 2007.
In 2010, it was expected that the full length of the motorway would be completed by the end of 2013. However, the consortium's economical problems led to the construction being stopped in 2011. Construction works have been resumed by April 2013, but the slow progress of expropriations, archaeological investigations, expropriation-related lawsuits and environmental issues led to further significant delays. Currently, the remaining parts are expected to be finished by March 2017.
The exits of the northern, Ionia Odos, section of the A5 motorway:
|Ioannina||18||Ioannina interchange||to Igoumenitsa, Thessaloniki|
|10||Amvrakia interchange||to Aktio|
|3||Klokova / Riza|
|2||Antirrio||, ferry to Rio|
|Achaea||1||Rio-Port||, ferry to Antirrio|
|Rio interchange||to Athens|
The Patras bypass was the first segment of the southern, Olympia Odos, section that was put into service. Planning of the bypass began in the 1980s, but construction did not begin until the 1990s. It passes east of the city, through the foothills of the Panachaiko mountain, and consists of several tunnels and bridges. In October 2002, the bypass was opened to traffic. As a result, traffic in downtown Patras has significantly decreased.
Largely following the course of National Road 9, the Patras bypass in early years was signposted as part of a new, separate Motorway 9. Later it was reassigned to the then-planned trans-Peloponnese Motorway 8, before it was considered a part of the Adriatic–Ionian Motorway 5.
|Signage of the Patras bypass|
Olympia Odos consortium
Construction and maintenance of the Patras bypass Olympia Odos section has been mandated to the "Olympia Odos" consortium which is also building the A8 Motorway.
The exits of the southern, Olympia Odos, section of the A5 motorway:
|Achaea||Rio interchange||to Athens|
|Patras A||Patras East interchange|
|Patras C||Glafkos interchange||Port of Patras|
|Patras Industrial Area|
- Greece signs €1.4 billion deal for west coat highway - Europe - International Herald Tribune
- Bill on Ionian Highway ratified by Parliament
- "Western Greece will have motorway by 2013 end". FOCUS News Agency. July 5, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Έως το τέλος του 2013 έτοιμη η Ιόνια Οδός, λέει ο Γ.Μαγκριώτης (in Greek). Philenews.com. July 3, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
- Motorways - Exit Lists