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Major landslide blocks Athens – Thessaloniki highway

19 December 2009 / 09:12:33  GRReporter
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Greece’s main highway connection between Athens and Thessaloniki remained closed on Friday at the Tempi intersection. As a result, traffic has been diverted.

The disaster has already claimed the life of one, with the victim being identified as an Italian national - project director for the construction works at the location. The Italian director has lost his life after a cluster of rocks crashed onto the vehicle he was using to survey the problematic area. A Swiss firm has already been commissioned to start the repairs at the intersection. Repair methods are currently under consideration to ensure the intersection will be closed for the shortest period of time. Officials from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure are expected to visit the site on Saturday.

Minister Dimitirs Repas has already held an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss how to tackle the expected increase in traffic during the holidays. At the meeting, it was decided to put extra efforts in improving the road network around the country and especially the busiest zones. Another important topic discussed concerns the necessary measures for keeping the road network working, while retaining the normal safety levels. Officials also talked about the most efficient channels of communication with the public and transport companies in cases of emergency and need of attention. Road works and improvements are expected on the Gonon – Tyrnavo – Elasonas road. If needed, the ministry is prepared to assemble a coordination unit to handle the works.

News in relation to how long the Athens – Thessaloniki highway at the Tempi junction will be closed is expected after the weekend. Extra units of traffic police and civil protection have been commissioned to guard the safety around the Greek roads, taking into consideration the weather prognosis for the country.

The cold waves of bad weather and abundant snowfall in the rest of Europe are not expected to reach Greece. Unusually high temperatures and sporadic rainfalls are expected for the duration of the Christmas holidays.

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