The deputy governor asked for patience from the residents of Thessaloniki and did not reject asking for additional measures and interventions.
The assessment that due to the start of the construction works of the elevated expressway (flyover) there will be a shock in the Thessaloniki area was made by the deputy governor of Infrastructure and Networks of the Central Macedonia Region, Paris Billias, speaking to the Athnaikos/Macedonian News Agency.
He pointed out that “the difficult period will be the first month or the first two months” and added: “we will manage it, it just takes a little patience”.
When asked if the measures announced to facilitate traffic will be able to absorb the impact of the works, the deputy governor replied: “Certainly, the presence of the police will help a lot. I think we are already seeing it now that a driver to go from Vasilissis Olgas to the center in rush hour, from where it used to take 15, 20 and 30 minutes, makes the journey in 10 minutes.” At the same time, he added: “I will state my own opinion: I think that only with policing and without some other actions it is difficult to absorb the volume of vehicles that will pass through the urban complex. They probably need more.”
Mr. Billias added: “The Ministry of Infrastructure has made a decision and from what I understand and from the presentation that was made on Monday, the procedures will initially start with these measures and in the course of time they will be re-evaluated and other measures will be used weapons present in the quiver. Such measures are certainly the further strengthening of the OASTH with drivers and buses, but also an application that will inform people about the situation on the road network so that they can choose better routes. It will certainly be necessary to re-evaluate the issue of the bike lane on Nikis Avenue. It is possible that some small traffic studies will need to be done in parts of the urban complex that will change traffic. (There could be) some one-way, some two-way and possibly a modification to the working hours, either of the public or private sector, possibly with teleworking, why not?”
Regarding the discussions taking place on the subject, he stated that “the fact that everyone has been concerned and is discussing it is positive because it means that they will more easily listen to some changes that need to be made and will be disciplined in these changes”. At the same time, he expressed the opinion that after the first months when there will be difficulties, “everyone will change the way they move. Some will abandon the cars and travel with the OASTH. Many bus lines are empty. It is one of the problems that the corona virus has created for us as the number of passengers who use the bus has decreased a lot and once you get used to a mode of transportation it is difficult to go back. Also, many may abandon the car and go on foot, we’ll see.”
According to the deputy regional governor, today the peak time in the regional is from 8.30 to 9.30 in the morning, while if this time period increases and is formed from 8 to 10 in the morning, the traffic will be divided and the peak will fall. In the positive data, he included the fact that in Thessaloniki the distances are short, while he emphasized: “For someone to go to work in 45 minutes instead of half an hour, I think it is manageable.”
Mr. Billias underlined that along the way, the Region of Central Macedonia may request additional measures and intervene. “The coordinating body that operated from July 20 until 10 days ago will not cease to exist. Again, if necessary, we will meet and propose additional measures to facilitate the daily life of our fellow citizens,” he added.