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Winter brings relief for Estonian drivers

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Winter brings relief for Estonian drivers


Residents of four Estonian islands usually have to rely on the ferry to get to the mainland but wintry weather is offering them an alternative.

The frozen sea has allowed the opening of six ice-roads, one of which is the longest in Europe, stretching for nearly 26 kilometres.

“The ice-track has to be tested regularly for the safety of the approximate 1,000 cars a day that use the road,” said Roadmaster Raivo Kibuspuu.

“The three most dangerous things for ice roads are high traffic density, which destroys the ice and creates cracks in the roads, as well as the sun and very strong temperature fluctuations, especially the cold, which makes the ice crack.”

Despite the occasional car dropping through the ice, which has happened, the islanders have not been deterred from using the road.

“It’s much faster and it costs less,” said one driver.

“And it’s also very romantic and beautiful. My grandfather used to go by horse and carriage on such roads.”

So until April at least the people of the islands will not be so isolated, until then the only people losing out, are the ferry operators.

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