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Mr. Ah. Karamanlis: We respond to communication fireworks with works

The Amfilochia Bypass, which connects the Aktio – Amvrakia road with the Ionian Road, was opened to traffic today, a road that was completed 5 months earlier than the contractual obligation.

The handover of the project took place in the presence of the Prime Minister, Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, while speeches were made by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, and the Deputy Minister responsible for Infrastructure, Mr. Giorgos Karagiannis. The general secretary of Infrastructure, Mrs. Maria-Elli Gerardi, was also present at the event.

The Aktio – Amvrakia road was delivered today, after an incredible adventure, after it was blocked for years by various complex problems, something that the Minister of Infrastructure emphasized in his speech, pointing out that the project “started in 2010 with a budget of 142 million. euros and of the 4 contracts, only one was proceeding”.

As Mr. Karamanlis pointed out, Aitoloakarnania, Epirus, Lefkada, Western Greece, have been waiting years for this particular project. In fact, he recalled that exactly three years ago, specifically in the Programmatic Declarations in the Parliament, he had started his speech with the three emblematic road projects that remained blocked for years. “Then we committed to find the best possible solution. And our commitment came true,” he emphasized.

Explaining the specific commitments, he mentioned the three emblematic projects: “These were Patron – Pyrgos, BOAK and of course Aktio – Amvrakia. Three extremely important projects that everyone wondered not when they would be completed, but if they would ever be done. We had to work intensively, methodically and with a plan, so that we can now speak with certainty that Patras – Pyrgos currently has three construction sites working day and night to finally deliver the project on time. BOAK, from a simple pencil on the map without study maturity, design and financing now has temporary contractors for a large part of it and within the year we will also see the first construction sites. And Aktio – Amvrakia, after an incredible adventure, is being delivered today for the most part and in fact five months earlier than contractual obligation”.

Then Mr. Karamanlis made reference to the history of the project, from 2010 until 2017 when the then SYRIZA government decided to announce a new tender for three of the four contracts with a budget of 160 million euros.

“The budget for three of the four sections of the project was greater than the original budget of the entire project,” the minister said, adding that this tender – like others of that period – got stuck. “This is the situation that was handed to us by the previous government in July 2019. A situation even more problematic than it was when it took over.”

Mr. Karamanlis pointed out the catalytic intervention of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with which this puzzle was also solved: “The Prime Minister is not here only in his institutional capacity, to inaugurate this new project – as is customary in our country. He is here as the prime minister who personally dealt with the complex problems that blocked these emblematic projects of Western Greece. And who himself provided solutions of decisive importance, as in Patras – Pyrgos”.

Especially for Aktio – Amvrakia, he said that without his own intervention the European Union funds would have been lost, as the project had already been financed by two programming periods. “In other words, a project was saved that was not only doomed to never be done, but we were also in danger of a financial correction. In other words, the European Commission would come and ask us back all of its own financial contribution. So we worked hard and systematically and we succeeded”. he said characteristically.

The minister then emphasized that the Amfilochia Bypass, a 17-kilometer highway of high standards, is being handed over to traffic today and ahead of schedule.

“Because let’s be honest. Public projects in Greece are usually completed after planning and almost always with overruns. Here for the first time the opposite is happening. The project is ready 150 days before the contractual obligation. And of course, this is also due to the seriousness and the professionalism shown by the contractor who is to be congratulated for the speed with which he moved.”

Mr. Karamanlis, after noting that this is how major infrastructure projects should be done in our country, explained the difference between the ND government and the previous one: We got a project that was blocked, blocked, that everyone had written off. And within three years we did what had not been done in all the previous years. Because we believe in this policy. In politics that brings results. Which benefits the place and all Greek women, all Greeks. In politics where our actions are the evidence of our words. And our proclamations are transmuted into our works. Because the government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis knows how to close years of backlogs. He knows how to take our country forward.”

He also emphasized that with projects like the one delivered today “we promote regional development in practice and act as an accelerator of the local economy, because New Democracy is the faction that was born and grew in the Greek region. And so it knows – we know – very well the potential that every corner of our country has. We know that with the right infrastructure projects, Greece can flourish in every region. That is why the project program of more than 13 billion euros that we have planned and implemented for three years is exactly focused on the Greek region. It is the program with which we change Greece. We make it stronger, competitive, modern”.

Then, after mentioning the dozens of small and large projects being carried out in the Region of Western Greece, whether road, railway, flood protection or buildings, he emphasized that the citizens are increasingly seeing the result of the work that has been done for three years. “They see that to communication fireworks, we respond with projects. To problems, we respond with solutions. To the misery of yesterday, we respond with creation. To insecurity, we respond with stability. To toxicity, we respond with responsibility. This has always been the New Democracy. The great patriotic faction that lifts Greece higher over time. This is our government. The government of projects, actions, results. Which looks the citizens in the face because it speaks the language of truth. Which makes Greeks optimistic about the future again”.

G. Karagiannis: The infrastructure projects are done for the next generations and not for the next elections

In his presentation, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Mr. Giorgos Karagiannis, referred to the difficult past of the road axis, stressing:

“The project of the road axis Aktio – Amvrakia, with a total length of 49 kilometers, started in 2009 and suffered for a number of years with the dissolution of contracts and re-auctions. The country was in danger of a fiscal correction for the money it had received in previous years.

So, after untangling the endless legal claims, in November 2020 we signed the contract with the contractor. 19 months later, with planning, persistence and a lot of work, we are delivering, just as we promised the Greek citizens, the first 17 kilometers of the project and in fact 5 months earlier than expected”.

In particular, regarding the section that was put into use, he explained that: “the handing over to traffic of the section that bypasses the city of Amfilochia is an important event both for N. Aetoloakarnania and more broadly for Western Greece. It is the easternmost section of the axis that upgrades really the levels of transportation service since it is directly connected to the Ionian Road, creating synergies that will work beneficially for the entire region”.

He highlighted the benefits for citizens as, “with the piece we are delivering today:

About 25 minutes of travel are saved in the main direction of the Amfilochia bypass, i.e. from Ionia street to Loutraki.

A reduction of the current distance by 7 kilometers is achieved with obvious benefits for fuel consumption and the environmental footprint of travel.

The attractiveness of the area is improved so that productive investments can be made and the development prospects in the project’s influence zone are upgraded.”

Mr. Karagiannis made a special mention of safety as now the heavy traffic is moved outside the semi-urban areas.

In addition, as the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure pointed out, “the axis has a heavy history of major accidents. So, in addition to the new jobs and the positive impact on the economy and employment, these projects achieve something else. Citizens feel that someone really cares, that he understands their problems and does what he needs to do to help.”

Overall, the Amvrakia road will be delivered within 2023 as he underlined, recalling the relevant commitment.

“With its completion, the prefectures of Preveza, Lefkada and Aitoloakarnania will now be connected to the trans-European highway network, while the port of Igoumenitsa, whose works continue, will be upgraded in practice, giving Western Greece a reliable and competitive gateway to the country” noted Mr. Karagiannis.

He referred to all the projects being implemented in Western Greece.

“At the beginning of autumn we will deliver the first section from Aktio to Agios Nikolaos, 5 kilometers long, at the same time, at the end of 2022, Agrinio – Agios Vlasis will be finished while the studies for the connection of the city of Agrinio with the Ionian Way, a our pre-election commitment, have been assigned and are proceeding. Furthermore, we are proceeding immediately with the construction of an irrigation and drainage network to serve a rural area of ​​a total area of ​​38,000 acres in Amvrakia, Amfilochia and Valto. In total, around the Ionian Road, around 80 million euros will be constructed anti-flood projects, most of which are here, in the Prefecture of Etoloakarnania”.

Mr. Karagiannis sent an optimistic message that “today is one of many moments that will come in the near future and in the coming years. The work that has been done in the last three years already has a tangible positive impact on people’s lives.”

In fact, as he emphasized, “the triptych that ensures this success is political will, proper planning and organized supervision”.

“You know the peculiarity of the work of those who deal with large infrastructure projects is that for years you can work methodically and systematically but the results of your work are indiscernible to an outside observer since the projects usually have a longer construction time than the usual political cycle. But we all have to recognize that the infrastructure projects are done for the next generations and not for the next elections and we have to be dedicated to this purpose” Mr. Karagiannis pointed out.

The details of the project

The Aktio – Amvrakia road project is 49 km long. and a budget of 160.5 million euros. It includes the construction of the remaining works of the road network Aktio – Amvrakia and the option project for the connection of this road network with the Ionian Road.

The highway Aktio – Amvrakia is being built with characteristics of a closed highway, 2+2 lanes per traffic flow and uneven junctions.

In addition, the direct connection of the end of the road axis Aktio – Amvrakia with the Ionian Road at the uneven Rivi junction is included as an option project, which has been activated.

Bypass Amfilochia

The first milestone of the project, the Bypass of the city of Amfilochia. In particular, the 17 km section that was handed over to traffic will completely change road transport from the Ionian Road and west of the Amfilochia area.

The city received all vehicles from and to the west coast and the Ionian Islands, making traffic one of the biggest problems especially during the summer months.

At the same time, the safe and upgraded road network, combined with the decongestion of traffic in the city of Amfilochia, will promote safety on the roads of the region and will lead to the reduction of the multiple accidents and mishaps that have occurred every year up to now.

With the operation of the Amfilochia Bypass, the travel time by road from Athens to Preveza and Lefkada is reduced.

Source: Capital

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