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Greek highway adds smart tunnels, works on solar energy

Olympia Odos, a major highway privately managed in central Greece, is expanding its network of smart tunnels as part of efforts to achieve a zero carbon footprint.

Improving road networks in the country are helping shorten travel times between popular beachside areas and the Greek capital, reshaping the real estate market. Better quality highways also help Greece improve its track record on fatal road accidents, one of the worst in Europe.

The company is increasing the number of smart tunnels it runs on the highway stretching across the top of the Peloponnese, connecting Athens to Patras, from one to four.


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The advanced smart system provides permanent monitoring of tunnel equipment through sensors, wirelessly transmitting data to the cloud through intelligent data collection nodes and input to the maintenance analytics system.

Smart highways of the future

The integrated sensors collect data from generators, pumps, fans, electrical systems (batteries, UPS), and transformers in each tunnel, providing a complete solution for monitoring equipment using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms.

Each device is monitored remotely and any problems are detected before they become apparent, allowing for targeted maintenance.

Innovative change

"Olympia Odos with the Smart Tunnel project, which is a model of innovation on a global scale, is opening a path towards improving infrastructure maintenance methods with a view to better road safety and ensuring the quality of the working environment,” Panagiotis Papanikolas, the company's president and CEO, told Athens News Agency.

Early detection of faults, faster recovery, better maintenance of equipment is now possible, while maximum safety of both workers and highway users is also achieved, he added.

Based on the results of its initial pilot project that started in May 2019, the next phase of the project is now scheduled to begin, which covers all tunnels stretching more than 500 meters on the highway.

Safety boost

This improves the safety of users and workers and the level of service, saving resources, ensuring that the tunnel equipment is maintained more correctly and therefore its life cycle is increased.

Since being constructed in 2018, the highway has set an ambitious goal of zero energy footprint by 2025. Its strategy to minimize the carbon footprint began with the replacement of conventional lighting with new LED technology lighting, in 17 of its tunnels. This first step reduced energy consumption by up to 80 percent along some points of the highway, company data shows.

Another green phase will soon follow, which is the installation of photovoltaic parks along the highway, which is expected to achieve the goal of "zero carbon footprint" by 2025.

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