Despite Summer Holidays, Tallinn Becomes Gridlocked as Tram Closure Takes Effect
Middle-of-summer traffic jams are plaguing Tallinn as a new work week begins with no trams running due to a citywide streetcar system overhaul and a number of repaving projects.
Contrasting to some years when the capital seems semi-deserted, one road user interviewed by Postimees said: "It's a madhouse. You can forget about driving to work if you don't want to sit in traffic for 45 minutes. You used to be able to take the tram, but not now. The buses are totally overcrowded."
After tram lines 1 and 2 closed today, the trams will be out of commission until August 24. Some buses are serving the closed lines. On others, city officials say a large number of existing alternative bus routes will get people where they are going.
In particular, a single-lane section on Narva maantee is putting the squeeze on traffic in the city center.
Perhaps the biggest change taking effect today pertains to the movement of trucks to and from the port, which will have to negotiate a "labyrinth" from August 4-17.
"Usually truck traffic decreases in July and August because of holidays all over Europe but a count shows an increase occurring. In any case, we will try to alert all freight companies of the restrictions via the Port of Tallinn and shipping companies," said Talvo Rüütelmaa of the city government's transport department.