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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsAthens-Thessaloniki Highway Reopens After Floods

Athens-Thessaloniki Highway Reopens After Floods

Flooded road
The flooded section of the Athens-Thessaloniki highway has been reopened for cars and vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tons. Credit: Amna

The flooded section of the Athens-Thessaloniki highway has been reopened for cars and vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tons. Fire Brigade spokesperson Yiannis Artopios said the left lanes of the national road were back in service on Friday evening. This critical stretch of the highway had been closed since Saturday, September 9th.

Traffic in both directions will be conducted exclusively from the left lane between the Sykouri and Gyrtoni Motorway, according to Aegean Motorway, the managing company for this highway section. The reopening of the highway, previously inundated by the overflowing Pineios River, received approval from relevant authorities and the Hellenic Police.

However, heavy vehicles will remain barred from using this section of the road until surface conditions are fully restored. Civil Protection vehicles, state-owned vehicles serving flood-affected areas, and trucks designated for the collection and transport of deceased animals are among the exceptions.

Despite these restrictions, all main roads within the Larissa, Karditsa, and Trikala triangle are now open for traffic, ensuring smoother travel across this vital north-south route. The Fire Brigade and Civil Protection continue their efforts to pump floodwaters from the remaining lanes, ensuring safer travel for all vehicles in the near future.

Aid From the EU

Greece is set to receive €2.25 billion ($2.4 billion) in EU funds to aid its recovery from recent devastating floods and fires. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced this support during a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. These funds will help with immediate relief and long-term reconstruction efforts.

Mitsotakis emphasized the severity of the disasters, stressing the need to protect lives and property. The funding will come from unspent cohesion money, the European Social Fund Plus, and the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy fund. These resources will support immediate recovery and reconstruction, including infrastructure repair.

Roberta Metsola, European Parliament President, called for a collective European response to these crises, highlighting the need for efficient action. European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni pointed out the EU’s emergency support fund for natural disasters, indicating further assistance options.

Public Health Concerns

One pressing issue concerned the prompt collection of deceased animals, crucial for public health, as the increased humidity attracts a surge in mosquito populations, compounding health concerns. Thousands of animals have reportedly perished, with the final count expected to be even higher once the waters recede.

Another alarming concern was the potential pollution of the water table due to oil stored in agricultural tanks that were carried away by the floods. Pesticides and fertilizers in storage also pose environmental risks, necessitating comprehensive mitigation efforts.

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