Hundreds of drivers were caught by surprise in a 40km traffic jam after an unexpected snowfall and heavy winds. They are waiting in long lines on the federal freeway connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg, the country’s biggest cities.
Russia’s European part endured heavy snowfall since Wednesday, culminating in massive precipitation on Friday. The situation was aggravated by strong winds and a thaw, which made the snow more difficult to clear.
The M-10 road, which is used by many tricksters delivering their cargo from St. Petersburg ports inland to Moscow, experienced problems over Thursday. By Friday, freighters and passenger cars choked up the route, forming a kilometers-long jam near Tver in central Russia.
Emergencies ministry dispatched some 175 rescuers and 100 snow-cleaning vehicles in response to the natural disaster. But by Saturday, when they managed to open one lane for traffic, the jam was 40km long, and it would take more time for it to disperse.
Authorities are also providing drivers with hot food, shelter, medical help and fuel.
The problems also spilled out into neighboring parts of the road network. Tver, a city of some 410,000 residents, banned all trucks from its streets, because they occupied the sides of the road and prevented clearing crews from doing their job.
The city declared an emergency and asked volunteers and the military to give a hand with manpower, which is needed to alleviate the traffic collapse.