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Attiki Odos CEO Resigns After Athens Blizzard Fiasco

Attiki Odos stranded Athens
Cars stranded on the Attiki Odos, the ring road of Athens, following the blizzard. Credit: Greek Reporter

The CEO of Attiki Odos, the Athens ring road where thousands of people were trapped in their cars on Monday night following a blizzard, resigned on Tuesday.

Vassileios Chalkias offered his resignation after the fiasco and Attikes Diadromes SA, the parent company of Attiki Odos SA, accepted it.

In a statement, Chalkias said that the last few motorists have been freed from the Attiki Odos toll motorway, where some 1,200 cars were stranded during the Elpis snowstorm that hit the country on Monday.

Having served as the company’s CEO since 1999, Chalkias said he feels “honored to have headed the emblematic Attiki Odos project,” and wished all the best to his successor.

The company’s board appointed traffic manager Aristophanes Papadimitriou to assume Halkias’ duties until the due election of a new CEO.

Attiki Odos Athens stranded
Fireman trying to move a stranded car at Attiki Odos on Tuesday. Credit: Greek Reporter

5,000 motorists stranded in Attiki Odos, Athens

An operation by the Army, fire fighters, police, aand volunteers from the Red Cross and Τhe Smile of the Child has been in progress since Monday afternoon to help some 5,000 motorists who were stranded for hours on the Attiki Odos in freezing temperatures.

Attiki Odos Athens
An abandoned taxi at Attiki Odos. Credit: Greek Reporter

Some motorists reported being trapped in their cars for more than 20 hours, while other outraged social media posts showed dozens of people trudging through heavy snow, including parents carrying young children, as they abandoned their cars and trucks on the side of the road and took to walking in search of help and shelter.

Attiki Odos SA offers compensation

Attiki Odos SA, the company responsible for the privately-managed highway, issued an apology and said that it will be compensating thousands of toll-paying motorists who became trapped on the highway in their cars and trucks during Monday’s blizzard.

According to reports, the company will offer compensation of 2,000 euros to every user of the Attiki Odos highway who became snowbound.

The decision was reportedly taken following a telephone call from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who demanded answers as to why the highway’s emergency response mechanism failed so dramatically.

Six regions of Greece under lockdown for second day

Authorities in Greece announced on Tuesday that the lockdown in Athens and the Greek islands due to the heavy snow will continue for a second day on Wednesday.

Six regions of Greece, including Attica, Viotia, Evia, the Cycladic and Sporades archipelagos and Crete will be under “obligatory holiday”, Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said.

That means all public administration offices will be closed, except primary and secondary level local government offices, the Armed Forces and security personnel, public health facilities and other services that are needed during emergencies.

All schools in the public and private sector at all levels of education – including preschool and distance learning – will not operate through Wednesday.


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