The construction project of the section of Olympia Odos, Patra-Pyrgos, is in full progress. In a press mission held yesterday, there was an extensive presentation of the progress of the project to date, which, as noted by Panagiotis Papanikolas, president and CEO of the concessionaire company of Olympia Odos has reached 3.5%.
In the near future, the works are estimated to intensify on the construction sites set up along the highway under construction. The project has been “broken” into three sections: the first from Mindilogli (from the current end of Olympia Odos to Perimetriki of Patras) to Karaiika undertaken by AVAX, the second from Karaiika to Gastouni undertaken by AKTOR and the third from Gastouni to Pyrgos which is taken over by TERNA.
The third section is also the most advanced as it is estimated that the progress has reached 6.5%. In addition to Mr. Papanikolas, the Regional Governor of Western Greece, Nektarios Farmakis, was also present at the construction sites of the project.
One of the first moves made with the initiation of the construction period (ie at the end of last March) was to start the collection of the waste existing along the new road. According to the head of Olympia Odos, to date, 55,000 tons of waste, mainly of agricultural origin, have been collected along a 20km stretch, which were then sent for recycling. The process continues.
First notice for the increase in construction costs
During the visit, Panagiotis Papanikolas pointed out the increase in construction costs that has been observed in the country’s public projects. As mentioned, Olympia Odos has requested the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport to readjust the prices of materials, using the same calculation method that currently applies to public works.
Discussions with the ministry on this specific issue are ongoing and it seems that an attempt will be made to resolve it with a ministerial decision that will pave the way for the price adjustment in the concession project. Mr. Papanikolas stated that the prices calculated for the projects are based on 2006 invoices.
How is the project going?
What was realized from the visit to the construction sites is that in a large part of the project some basic excavation work has been done. Besides, let’s not forget that the construction of the Patras-Pyrgos section in the period 2008-2011 had reached approximately 16%.
Those works that were carried out at that time because in the years that followed there was no care or maintenance have begun to restore them. The premises have also been cleared and excavation work has begun.
Archaeological issues have not risen to date, while for the expropriations there is a 10 km section (about the 35th km) in which the process has not been completed. It is estimated by Olympia Odos that the premises may have been delivered by the end of 2022. As reported today, approximately 450 people are employed together with local subcontractors.
According to the current timetable, the Pyrgos-Kato Achaia section will be delivered at the end of March 2025 and at the end of July the Kato Achaia-Midilogli section will be delivered, with which the Patra-Pyrgos highway will be connected to the existing Olympia Odos.
Regarding the issue of the extension of Olympia Odos to Ancient Olympia, Mr. Papanikolas noted that this will proceed when the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport activates the relevant option in the concession contract. This will also mean the inclusion of Ancient Olympia in the network of areas that will be served by the highway.
Finally, regarding the issue of the construction of the Pyrgos-Kalo Nero-Tsakona section, on which, as it became known, the studies have begun, the head of Olympia Road noted that this will proceed if the Ministry of Infrastructure decides on its construction in the future.
Interesting facts about the project
The total current construction cost amounts to 331 million euros and is financed by a combination of private capital of the shareholders, bank loans, European funds and a contribution from the Greek State. Specifically, during the construction period, the project is financed by 35% from the Concessionaire’s Funds (bank loans & equity) and 65% by the European Union and the Greek State.
The project concerns the upgrading of a 13-kilometer section (Midilogli-Kato Achagia) and the construction of a new 61-kilometer highway. In total, we are talking about a new motorway section of Olympia Odos with a total length of 75 km.
When it is put into operation, two frontal toll stations in Kato Achagia and Chanakia and two side stations in Kato Achagia and Amaliada will be provided.
With the new highway, the travel time from Patras to Pyrgos is reduced by ~approximately 40 minutes. Therefore, the total journey between Athens and Pyrgos will now take 2 hours and 45 minutes’.
Especially for the service of the Patras Industrial Area (VIPE) a 25 km free regional artery is being completed, starting from the area of Rio (18 km perimeter) and reaching the Patras Industrial Area junction (the first 7 km of the new highway) .
Stimulation of the local economy and especially the agricultural production of the Prefecture of Ilia
Tens of thousands of tons of agricultural and processed products (fruit and vegetables, canned goods, etc.) are transported every year from the prefecture of Ilia to the major urban centers, mainly Athens, and other international destinations. For the prefecture of Ilia, agricultural production is a dominant sector of its overall economic activity.
Communication with the Ionian Islands
Since the sea connections of the mainland with the Ionian islands (Zakynthos, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Kythira) start from the prefecture of Ilia, the construction of Patras-Pyrgos will contribute to the elimination of the difficulties of connecting these islands with the rest of the country and will facilitate their further tourism development.
Tourism development of the Western Peloponnese
The Western Peloponnese, from Patras to its southernmost tip, Messinian Mani, has amazing sandy beaches of high natural beauty, among the most beautiful in the country.
However, the lack of transport infrastructure has prevented its tourism development at satisfactory levels. The construction of Patras-Pyrgos in combination with the existing sea connections and reception ports (Patra-Kyllini- Katakolo, etc.), as well as the Araxos International Airport, will certainly contribute to the creation of a second wave of development of tourist facilities throughout the region. The contribution of the highway will also be important to the -indirect- facilitation of tourists who arrive by cruise ships at the port of Katakolo bound for Ancient Olympia.
Ancient Olympia and cultural heritage monuments
In the Prefecture of Ilia, one comes across some very important cultural monuments, as well as areas of particular environmental importance, such as the extensive archaeological site of Ancient Elida, the ancient theater of Platiana, the Foloi Forest in Ancient Olympia, the Kotychi Lagoon, the Temple of Epicurean Apollo. In the wider area, there are also important Byzantine and Post-Byzantine monuments, such as the most important port of the Frankish period, the Castle of Glarentza, the imposing Castle of Chlemoutsi, the Monastery of Fragavilla, the Monastery of Panagia Vasiliki Gastounis etc.
The “jewel” of Ilia and the most glorified sanctuary of ancient Greece is of course Ancient Olympia. The birthplace of the Olympic Games, an institution with pan-Hellenic radiance and brilliance from ancient times to the present day.
It is quite telling that despite its isolated position near the western coast of the Peloponnese, in ancient times Olympia was established in the Greek world as the most important religious and sports center.