The upgrade of two important roads in Northern Greece, the Thessaloniki-Edessa axis and the Drama-Amphipolis axis, was announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his visit to the Region of Central Macedonia – April 24, 2021 “When the physical distances are reduced, the social ones are also reduced,” the Prime Minister stressed, noting that for both Edessa and Drama, the modern roads will help “to
break the isolation of the two Regional Units, which were left behind in terms of the road network that connected them with Thessaloniki and the Egnatia Odos. We welcome today, the launch of two projects that show the interest of the government, the interest of the Ministry for the region, but also for the overall economic and social progress”. Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined that these two new projects, which will be implemented through PPPs, will have significant socio-economic and development benefits for the regions as the faster interconnection of the capital prefectures will be achieved and the creation of a coherent chain for the smooth movement of passengers and the rest of Europe. He stressed that they will make a significant contribution to improving road transport safety by reducing accidents. Edessa closer to Thessaloniki, Amphipolis half an hour closer to Drama “Edessa and all the productive power of Pella are coming closer to Thessaloniki, Amphipolis half an hour closer to Drama. “Above all, however, the roads are now acquiring European standards, facilitating thousands of drivers”, the Prime Minister noted, emphasizing that the acquisition of road networks is in line with modern requirements and regulations, thus contributing, through the upgrading of infrastructure, to the creation of regional development for country. “Egnatia Odos, therefore, the backbone of Northern Greece, will soon have two new vertical axes. Which in fact will be constructed by the method of public-private partnership. A non-repayable PPP, something that exempts them from tolls “, said Kyriakos Mitsotakis, encouraging the institution of Public-Private Partnerships to attract private funds that will work multiplier in the development of the country’s economy. Pre-election commitment implemented within a timetable “My last pre-election speech before the July 7 elections was in Pella, specifically in Giannitsa, where at that time I had made the commitment that, if our citizens trust us, we will complete the long-standing connection between Edessa and Thessaloniki so that finally the Pella from isolation “stressed the Prime Minister for his own pre-election commitment that is being implemented and in fact within the schedule that he had set at the TIF of 2019. K. Karamanlis: Projects with a specific implementation plan, schedule and secured funding “The projects we present to you today are part of a comprehensive plan for Macedonia and the wider region,” said Minister of Infrastructure & Transport Costas Karamanlis. “A plan with two clear goals: On the one hand, development. In the long run to bring Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia and the wider region to the center of Southeastern Europe. In a new development course with modern infrastructures that can help it to highlight its comparative advantages “, stressed Mr. Karamanlis. “On the other hand,” the Minister continued, talking about the second goal, a “better everyday life: Problems of so many years are not solved overnight, but we must all work hard to make the daily life of the citizens more humane.” Especially in such a difficult situation, the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is doing this “. “Today, as every time the government has announced a project, we are committed to it. We do not say words without content but we give practical solutions to chronic problems. And today we present for these two projects a specific plan for their implementation, schedule and plan with secured funding “stressed the Minister of Infrastructure & Transport. Projects with a strong imprint on transport, tourism and the economy “This is a great day for our country, as a project that was a fair request for decades, not only for Central Macedonia but for the whole of Northern Greece, will begin to be implemented without further delays, without further delays,” said the Central Regional Governor. Of Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas. “Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, I really want to thank you for our close cooperation but also for your determination,” he said. “So, we are taking big and steady steps forward, which have not been done for decades in our region. We are changing our place, making the daily life and quality of life of our fellow citizens better. At the same time, we create new opportunities and prospects for development, fair and sustainable, which will reach every citizen. “So the pandemic did not stop us”, noted Mr. Tzitzikostas. “For the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Thessaloniki is at the core of our policy, at the core of our effort to strengthen the economy and support society”, noted the Secretary General of Infrastructure George Karagiannis, adding that these are “two projects with a strong footprint in transport, tourism and the economy of the wider region “. “The construction of the new road is very important, because it will replace the existing road, which is insufficient and of course carries risks in terms of safety of both vehicles and pedestrians,” said the Governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Christos Metios. Immediately after the event, the Prime Minister walked in the center of Thessaloniki and had the opportunity to talk to citizens and professionals of the city. The speech of the Prime Minister in detail Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Minister, friends, As I listened to the Minister speak, I remembered that my last pre-election speech before the July 7 elections was in Pella, specifically in Giannitsa, where I had made a commitment that, if our citizens trust us, we would complete the long-standing connection between Edessa and Thessaloniki so that Pella finally comes out of isolation. Two months later, on September 7, 2019, from the TIF podium, I was saying verbatim: “The Drama-Amfipolis-Egnatia road has been studied and auctioned within 18 months. For Thessaloniki-Edessa, which unfortunately is much more immature, the relevant studies will start immediately by the Ministry of Infrastructure “. As I promised, 18 months later I am back in Thessaloniki for the final stretch of these two important projects. Indeed, despite the upheaval brought by the pandemic, the studies for the Thessaloniki-Edessa axis, dear Apostolis, Mr. Regional Governor, are now ready. As the General Secretary said, radical reconstruction projects are being promoted in 25 of the 80 kilometers of its total length. Nodes and bypasses are constructed that serve all the surrounding areas. Large sections acquire two lanes, while the safety of those in circulation is upgraded everywhere. And of course, dear Mr. Regional Governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, friend Christos, the Drama-Amphipolis road acquires a new look. There, sections of almost 14 km will be restored and widened, but they will also be framed by a completely new section of almost 17 km, through which the settlements of Rodolivous and Protis are bypassed. It is a relatively difficult technical project, as it includes seven uneven junctions, 17 bridges, but it has a huge symbolic significance, as it connects Central Macedonia with Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Egnatia Odos, therefore, the backbone of Northern Greece, will soon have two new vertical axes. Which, in fact, as the Minister said, will be constructed by the method of public-private partnership. A non-repayable PPP, something that exempts them from tolls. While their auction, in addition to the three years of estimated construction, includes the obligation of the contractor to maintain these roads for 27 years. I do not think I need to explain in detail what these new projects mean to the residents of Pella and Drama. Profit in time, but mainly security. Edessa and all the productive power of Pella come closer to Thessaloniki, Amphipolis half an hour closer to Drama. Most of all, however, the roads now acquire European standards, making it easier for thousands of drivers. The two Regional Governors spoke about the importance of these axes for the local economy, about the life of our inhabitants. I will note only their great contribution to employment but also to the development of land transport, as these sectors are government priorities with a nationwide footprint. At the same time, however, they are also choices with a political content. When physical distances are reduced, so are social distances. And I believe that the phrase “so close but so far” has been valid for Drama, but also for Edessa for many years. The “so close” will now be as close as these two cities can communicate with modern roads so as to break the isolation of the two Regional Units, which were left behind in terms of the road network that connected them with Thessaloniki and the Egnatia Odos. In other words, we welcome today, the launch of two projects that show the interest of the government, the interest of the Ministry for the region, but also for the overall economic and social progress. But also the implementation of a double proclamation that we said in Macedonia and we put it into practice in Macedonia. I would like to congratulate the Ministry and the Minister, but also the Secretary General. It has not been easy to overcome the entanglements that have come from the past and to secure the right financial tool so that we can now be absolutely sure that these projects can be put into practice. That is why, when I spoke in Thessaloniki in ’19, I was not committed then to the way in which these projects would be carried out. We took some time to launch the relevant procedures but today we are absolutely sure that these projects, now, after a delay of many decades, will proceed. In front of us, we have the National Recovery Plan, “Greece 2.0”. That is, the Greece of the coming decades, which includes hundreds of projects that will reshape the production model, the image and the everyday life throughout the country. But there are also problems that unfortunately come from the past. Outstanding issues of the past that we are solving. And one of those old bills with yesterday is the one we are closing now with these two roads. Greece, friends – and let me close with that – is fully prepared to make the big leap into the future. Just yesterday, Standard & Poor’s upgraded the Greek debt with a positive outlook for the future, thus certifying the confidence that international investors show in the outlook for the Greek economy. A few days ago I announced a series of significant tax cuts, relating to corporate income tax, the down payment that companies will pay, the abolition of the performance fee for 2022 and the reduction of employer contributions for the next year. Despite the pandemic and the crisis, this government is consistent in implementing its election program. I had promised that I would return to the middle class what SYRIZA took from it and this government is implementing its pre-election commitment. We will all walk this path together, with confidence, with confidence, with planning, always speaking the language of truth. In cooperation with the Regional and Local Government we are at the beginning of a virtuous cycle of rapid recovery for our country, a cycle of recovery which after the pandemic will benefit all Greek women and all Greeks. Good start, then, in the two new projects. I am sure that the tender procedures, Mr. Minister, Secretary General, will run fast. And I hope that our next meeting for the two new arteries will take place on their construction sites, as we are not just talking about plans, we are talking about projects. The best proof of the projects we are talking about is the completion of the projects that are being done at the “Macedonia” airport. Thessaloniki now, dear Mayor, dear Regional Governor, acquires an airport worthy not only of its history, but also of its perspective. We will continue on this path with confidence and self-confidence. Thank you very much. The road axis Thessaloniki – Edessa The project concerns the upgrade of the road axis with a total length of about 80 km, which today includes sections with insufficient configuration, long slopes, insufficient road sections, poor visibility, and very often passes through cities. The area in which the project will be executed extends from the prefecture of Thessaloniki to the prefecture of Pella. The project also includes the maintenance and operation of the total length of 80 km of the road axis for a period of 27 years that will start after the three-year construction period of the project. The road axis Drama – Amphipolis The project concerns the upgrade of the National Road Drama – Amphipolis, either by restoration and widening of sections of the existing road or by construction of completely new sections along the section from Paliokomi to Mavrolevki, and from Mavrolevki to Drama with a total length of 43 km. The highway will be upgraded to a highway with the restoration of the existing road construction for about 13.5 km and the construction of about 29.5 km of new sections. The main features of the project include the upgrade of the main thoroughfare, the construction of two new sections and the connection to the existing roads with 9 junctions. The contract will provide for the operation and maintenance of the 43 km long road axis, for a period of 27 years that will start after the three-year construction period of the project. The Prime Minister was received by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Costas Karamanlis, the Regional Governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the Regional Governor of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Christos Metios, the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Generos Z, George Konstantinos Interior, responsible for Macedonia – Thrace, Stavros Kalafatis, the director of the Prime Minister’s Office in Thessaloniki, Maria Antoniou, the ND MPs in Pella and Drama, as well as representatives of the local government and chamber institutions.