31 Mar 2022

Speech of Mr. Panayiotis Papanikolas, Chairman and CEO of Olympia Odos at the event organized for the commencement of the construction works for the New Patras-Pyrgos Motorway

Dear Prime Minister,


Minister of State,

Governor of the Region,

Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of the Greek Parliament, the local government and the church.

I want to thank you all for being with us today.

Your presence here is a great honor and pleasure, both for me and for all other people who contribute to this project.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

For more than 25 years I have been involved in projects that have changed the face of Greece. Along this route, the lessons were many. But I consider one as the most important. An infrastructure, a bridge, a motorway is much more than a structure.

Motorways bring us closer to loved ones and destinations. They convey ideas, dreams, experiences and prospects.

They bring us closer to the future. 


As the core of our philosophy is that everything starts and ends with people, we have started the construction of a modern motorway linking three regions: Attica, the Peloponnese and Western Greece.

A motorway offering modern services and comfort which is now integral part of the communities it links.

Olympia Odos is one of the most complex projects in Europe, is "a project with many heroes” and one would require several hours to describe its benefits.

I will underline the most important one. Safety

Korinthos-Patras route used to be a nightmare for drivers.

From the day the concession project started in 2008 to date, fatal accidents have been reduced by 93%.

This result did not come by chance. We have designed and built a road complying with the latest international standards, incorporating an integrated road safety services mechanism. 

But we do not stop here. We are constantly investing in new technologies and services, having as ultimate goal the “zero fatalities”.  


I have spoken about people and their leading role. Allow me to mention something else that makes up the identity of Olympia Odos. Sustainability 

Everything we create, every road we open shall have a single direction: the future.

Sustainability, our footprint on tomorrow, is a prerequisite for development to be meaningful, to make sense.

This is why we are operating a road that harnesses innovation, protecting the environment and reducing its carbon footprint:

  • LED lighting in the tunnels
  • “Water from air” program
  • Adaptive Lighting system
  • EV charging at the Motorists Service Stations

All these pave our way to a better and above all sustainable future.


Olympia Odos is now entering a new era thanks to the construction of a road that will bring Athens closer to Pyrgos and one of the most important historical sites, Ancient Olympia.

An old, dangerous road is giving way...

... to a comfortable and safe motorway that will reduce travel time Patras to Pyrgos by about 40 minutes.

... to a road with 2 lanes and Emergency Lane on each direction, with a central median, 8 interchanges, 64 overpasses and underpasses, 15 bridges, 2 Motorist Service Stations and 2 Customer Service Centers. It will incorporate the distance-based tolling, that we were the first to introduce in Greece, and all innovations we have developed for Olympia Odos, available from the first day of its operation. 

The new motorway will boost the local economy and the agricultural production.

Will upgrade the tourism product of the Western Peloponnese.

The unique monuments of the region will now be served by a road axis worthy of their history and their international reputation.

We are starting today to construct these 75 km of the motorway to the future.


I will close by speech by saying a few words about the commemorative gift of today's event.

It is the free illustration of the Discus of Iphitos.

Iphitos, King of Elis, asked the Oracle of Delphi about what should be done to save Greece from civil war and the diseases that were killing the population. The Oracle answered that they should revive the Olympic Games.

With the support of the rulers Lycurgus of Sparta and Cleisthenes of Pisa, he organized the Olympic Games and established the Olympic truce.

According to Pausanias, the text of the "international treaty of truce" for the safe passage of athletes during the Olympic Games was inscribed in a circular pattern on a discus.

This idea of the truce discus inspires us to envision the completion of Olympia Odos.

A modern road that calls a truce with everything that has hurt us in the past. With all those who posed obstacles. With everything that has divided us and excluded us from the future. 

When the Discus of Iphitos gave birth to the symbolism of this project, we could not have imagined that today, in a place not so far away, in Ukraine, a real war would create the need for real truce roads.

Unfortunately, the message of the discus remains relevant.

We wish that now for Ukraine and broadly in the future, the truce would be just a symbolism and not necessity.

Thank you.