Greek National Road 1 is the longest highway in Greece. The highway begins at Kifissou Avenue or north of the Bay of Phaliro up to Efzoni at the FYROM border where it continues as the M1. Before the European routes numbers were changed, the northern part from Efzoni to GR-2 was E5N. Today, the entire road is run by E75. The motorway is tolled with the exception at the Aphidna tolls, southward only. One toll booth has been abandoned.
The part west of downtown Athens runs over the Cephisus river and Kifissou Avenue. From north of the boundary of Voiotia-Phthiotis, up to near Velestino, the toll freeway runs next to the bays and gulf which are adjacent to the Aegean. North of the Tempe Valley and up to the south junction of the E90, it passes on the northwestern side of the Aegean. Its total length is approximately 520 km.
It used to be entirely a 2-lane highway and ended near Katerini until 1973. The section Athens - Lamia opened in August 1962 as a 14m width road. The section Lamia - Larissa opened in October 1967 as a 14m width road. The section Larissa - Katerini opened in September 1959 as a 13m width road (except the Tempi valley pass opened as 10m road). The section Katerini - Thessaloniki opened in September 1973 as a 14m width road. The section Axios junction - Evzoni (border) opened in July 1973. The section Axios junction - Polykastro opened as a 14m width road, while the section Polykastro - Evzoni (border) opened as a highway.
When it was extended to Thessaloniki and to the Republic of Macedonia border, the highway had 4-lanes. It was extended during construction in the north in the 1980s and the south in the early and mid 1990s which began near the Afidnes toll. In 1995 the Greek National Road 1 had motorway characteristics in sections Athens - Thebes and Kleidi - Thessaloniki, while the section Thebes - Kleidi was an undivided 14 m road. In 1998, the motorway had 6-lanes up to north of Thebes, and 4 lanes from Thebes up to the Tempe Valley with a few sections at western Magnesia still having 2 lanes. Since then, the Larissa bypass has been constructed. In 2005, it complies with all motorway standards for most of its length, except for 78 km around the Maliakos Bay and 26 km through the Tempe Valley, further to the north. Plans to be upgraded to motorway at these parts are underway, with bypasses at the Maliakos Gulf part, and a new tunnel at the Tempe Valley part. However, many delays frequently arise. Construction has started around the Maliakos Bay that are due to be completed in late 2007 or early 2008. A tunnel that was planned through the Maliakos and was used in some maps has been removed or unplanned. The full upgrade to motorway standards at these two parts is not expected to be completed before 2012.
In 1996, one of the bridges in northern Greece (near Leptokarya) was ruined by flooding, resulting into the blocking of traffic. The motorway was also closed down temporarily during the 2004 and the 2006 snowstorms. Several automobiles and vehicles were stranded during these snowstorms especially at the Afidnes toll booth.
On Wednesday October 11, 2006, the low-pressure system that brought heavy rains to East-Central Macedonia and parts of eastern Thessaly caused heavy mudslides causing the road at the 165th to the 170th km near Kameni Vourla to be turned into mud and a part of the rim was damaged by flowing waters. A section of the embankment collapsed with mud to pour onto the superhighway. Motorists were heavily stranded in their vehicles including trucks which had a nearly 1 km lineup on the southbound lanes, cars were struggling to drive over the mud that it took hours to pass through even though the highway was closed during the catastrophic event.
The toll motorway passes through towns and cities, which, ordered from south to north, are. The exits are still unnumbered even though it is posted in some cases:
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