Thousands of drivers in Russia have been stuck in a 190km traffic jam — some for up to three days in temperatures of minus five degrees Celsius.
The Russian government admitted it had to improve road services after the traffic jam involving more than 4,000 trucks paralysed circulation on a key highway.
According to Russian media, some drivers were stuck motionless in a remote part of the M-10 motorway surrounded by forest for up to three days after heavy snow caused the traffic to build up.
Officials claimed that traffic on the M-10 motorway north of Moscow had begun to move normally again since yesterday and acknowledged more needed to be done to prevent a repeat of the problems.
Deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, the government pointman on transport issues, said it was clear road services had not worked effectively after traffic built up for 190km.
“At the start of the snowfall, not even a half of the available technical hardware was used,” he told prime minister Dmitry Medvedev.
“Many drivers were stuck without provisions in the middle of a forest. This is not a European road but a Russian one, a forest road,” he said.
Emergency situations minister Vladimir Puchkov described the problems as “a good lesson for all the services”.
“They need to work on the roads and not in their warm offices,” he warned.
Thousands of drivers waited for hours without moving in their lorry cabs in temperatures of minus five degrees Celsius.
Officials claimed that they had been given enough provisions but Puchkov admitted this had not always been the case.
“We had problems from the point of view of the highway services and ensuring that drivers had food, water and medication,” he said.
Puchkov added: “Systems of keeping the drivers informed were not ready.”
The traffic jam was caused by a heavy snowfall — unusually severe for early winter — late on Friday and was further complicated when the authorities manoeuvred a snow plough through the vehicles to clear the road.
The M-10 motorway connects Moscow and Saint Petersburg andis one of the busiest in the country.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved