The planning for the motorway of Crete, VOAK, is progressing in gradual completion with operation first to take place in the east and then in the west. The large project, which exceeds a total of 1.7 billion euros, is in an advanced phase. The eastern section (Neapolis-Agios Nikolaos) is under construction, the middle section (Chersonissos-Neapolis) is heading for signatures and its western and main section from Chania to Hersonissos is in the phase of submitting binding offers.

Due to the fact that the country is entering an election year that traditionally dampens public works production processes, we expect two main events until the announcement of national elections.

The first is to sign the PPP contract for Hersonissos-Neapoli by the scheme GEK TERNA-AKTOR CONCESSIONS-INTRAKAT.

The second is the selection of a contractor for the main section from Chania to Hersonissos. The tender is conducted by the concession method and 4 schemes participate: 1.AKTOR CONCESSIONS, 2.TERNA, 3.AVAX, 4.VINCI, 5. J.V MYTILINEOS-INTERTOLL. The big question is the date of submission of binding offers and how the alliances for the project will be formed.

However, given the experience gained from similar tenders, the selection of a temporary contractor takes time as it is a massive tender. In addition, we do not know if there will be any appeal here that could delay the process.

Let us remind you that since last September, the contract for the eastern part, Neapolis-Agios Nikolaos, has been signed by the Ministry of Infrastructure with AKTOR in the amount of 186 million euros. The project is financed by the Recovery Fund.

The road map of the implementation of the project

Through a decision of the Recovery Fund, the road map for the implementation of the project became known. More specifically, in the second quarter of 2023, the notification of the assignment for the Chania-Hersonissos section and the Hersonissos-Neapoli section is expected.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, construction should be completed on the Hersonissos-Neapolis and Neapolis-Agios Nikolaos sections. Accordingly, in the main section (Chania-Hersonissos) the progress should have reached 15%, which means:

-Completion of civil engineering works for the existing bypass roads of Chania, Heraklion and Rethymnon.
– Completion of the civil engineering works for the Vryses – Atsipopoulos section, 21.9 km long, including 2 junctions. Total length of bridges: 2036 m Total length of underground works (excavation, foundation, drainage, opening of culverts, earthworks and auxiliary works): 10 215 m 3.

Completion of the civil engineering works for the Amario-Skaleta section, 12.4 km long, including 1 junction. Total length of bridges: 710 m. Total length of underground works (excavation, foundation, drainage, opening of culverts, earthworks and auxiliary
works): 4230 m.

The completion of the above works will be certified by the independent project engineer and the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The operation of the VOAK sections

This practically means that at the beginning of 2026 approximately 30 kilometers of modern highway will be operational from Hersonissos to Agios Nikolaos. If we add the Heraklion-Hersonissos section that was upgraded in the last decade, then we reach about 40km and the bypasses of Chania, Heraklion and Rethymnon.

The most demanding part, that of the concession, is estimated that its construction period will start in 2024 and will last about 4 years. This means that it will take a wait of two additional years, until 2028 to see VOAK in full operation, from Chania to Agios Nikolaos.

With the recent decision of the Deputy Minister of Finance, Theodoros Skylakakis, the project secured 200 million euros from the Recovery Fund. The total cost of the Chania-Hersonissos project is estimated at over 1.1 billion euros, the largest new concession project in the country.

VOAK, with its construction and operation, will become, from the first day, the most “intelligent” highway in the country, as all the technological developments of recent years will have been integrated into its construction and operation.

It will have Motorist Service Stations (MSS/SEA), where drivers can rest, buy products, while there will be cafes and restaurants as well as charging stations for electric vehicles. At the same time, there will be modern spaces (toilets) for users every few kilometers of the highway.


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