A special road has been completed which will allow Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) convoys to connect directly the Sirgala training ground in Ida-Viru County with the nearby town of Jõhvi, taking traffic pressure off the Tallinn-Narva highway.
Larger military vehicles often used the Narva highway in their journeys to and from Sirgala, and will now be able to make use of the 20km connecting road instead.
The route cost over €2 million to construct, but shortened the journey by about a third. It is also a public road and not restricted solely for military use.
Indrek Ojasoo, battalion sergeant at the EDF's Viru infantry battalion, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "We have been looking forward to this road for years. Our journey to the Sirgala practice field had been long and difficult, going via the Tallinn-Narva highway, and through Sillamäe. We no longer have to consider rush hour, when there is heavy traffic on the road which we avoid by having to go earlier or later."
"Right now there is really a possibility that if the need arises, we can be able to head off and be at training ground within a few minutes," Ojasoo added, noting that this will save fuel, as well as bringing more flexibility to EDF exercises taking place at Sirgala.
Elari Kalmaru of the Center for Defense Investment (RKIK) said the road was constructed in around six months, is around 7m in width (plus verges) and is open to the public.
At the same time, Kalmaru urged caution and an awareness of the high concentration of EDF vehicles that will necessarily be using the road.
A later extension to the same road will link to Viivikonda, well-known as somewhat of a ghost town, due to the number of abandoned buildings in the area.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera'