Tartu intersection records most accidents in Estonia for third year running ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Riia maantee/Ringtee junction on the outskirts of Tartu.
Riia maantee/Ringtee junction on the outskirts of Tartu. Source: Google maps

A major intersection in Estonia's second city, Tartu, has seen 127 traffic accidents in the past year, causing insurance claims of around €190,000 according to statistics, making it the junction with the highest rate of accidents in the country, for the third year in a row.

The junction of Riia mnt and Ringtee roads, at the Lõunakeskus shopping mall in the city's southwestern approaches, has been earmarked for reconstruction in the next year or so, but this has been put back to 2024 at present. The junction's inability to cope with the volumes of traffic it experiences has been highlighted as one factor in the rate of accidents, slightly higher than at any intersection in the capital, Tallinn.

The emergency situation and consequent reduction in traffic does not seem to have diminished the accident rate at the junction, with 13 accident insurance cases in March, the same figure as last year, head of the Estonian Motor Insurance Bureau (LKF) loss adjuster's department Ülli Reimets said.

Around a fifth of accidents at the junction last year were fault collisions with another moving vehicle, ERR reports, and 63 percent were rear-end collisions, and the statistics suggest that the intersection cannot cope with the traffic volume.

"The high proportion of both rear-end collisions and faults indicates that there are capacity problems at the intersection. On average, Estonian intersections saw 47 percent of its accidents as rear-end collisions last year, 17 per cent were other collisions with other drivers and 16 per cent were accidents in traffic queues," Reimets went on.

The city of Tartu has submitted a request to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications that the Riga roundabout be reinstated on the list of objects to be financed in the state road management plan for 2021. 

The construction of a section of ​​the Tartu western bypass of the Tallinn-Tartu-Luhamaa road was planned for the 2020-2021, the city government says, but when the state government approved its new road management plan for 2020-2030 in January this year, the construction was postponed to 2024-2025.

Reconstruction is likely to cost €22 million, according to ERR.

Accident rate comparisons

Over 120 accidents have happened at the Tammsaare-Rahumäe-Tondi junction south of Tallinn city center in the past year, costing around €180,000 in insurance claims.

Other accident-prone intersections in the capital include the nearby Delta Plaza traffic junction, the Tammsaare tee – Sõpruse puiestee intersection in Mustamäe, the Ülemiste and Sikupilli junction near the airport, the Endla – Luise –Tehnika junction in the city center, the Akadeemia roundabout in Mustamäe and the Viru junction in the city center.

Outside of the two largest cities in Estonia, the highest figure of accidents was recorded at a roundabout in the town of Jüri, about 15 kilometers southeast of Tallinn, with 75 in the past year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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