The company in charge of road maintenance had decided not to deice the section of the so-called Tallinn ring road (T11) that saw a multi-vehicle collision earlier on Thursday, the transport watchdog said based on a preliminary investigation.
Based on preliminary data, the road maintenance company had not carried out preventive deicing on the stretch of road, Viktor Kisseljov, head of Transport Administration North, told Vikerraadio.
A section of the Tallinn ring road between the Väo junction and Jüri in the direction of Tallinn saw a collision involving 11 vehicles Thursday. No one was hurt.
Kisseljov said that a Transport Administration patrol did not find the road slippery at 6 a.m. "But the road maintenance company still made the wrong call when it decided not to deice the highway," he added.
He also said that other companies in charge of nearby sections of road had performed deicing between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
In case of highest-priority roads, the Transport Administration's maintenance partners are obligated to carry out road maintenance inside two hours of learning of potentially hazardous conditions.
"We also have road sensors, roadside weather stations and look whether precipitation or slippery conditions are forecast. We have patrols on the roads and decisions of whether to perform preventive deicing are made by road stewards. Unfortunately, it was decided not to deice the section in question today," Kisseljov said.
"The Transport Administration is weighing whether to sanction the road maintenance partner, while the sum will become clear at a later time," Kisseljov added.
Margus Magus, in charge of road maintenance and traffic organization at the Transport Administration's northern arm, later told ERR that the partner responsible for the road all year-round is EKT Teed OÜ.
Asked how much the watchdog's partner could be fined, Magus said, "We are talking about up to €10,000."
Viktor Kisseljov also pointed out that roads may become slippery in wintry conditions, especially in the morning and evening and on bridges and ramps that see a lot of traffic. It is something drivers should always keep in mind.
While the speed limit is up to 100 kilometers an hour on the four-lane section of highway in question even in winter, the maximum speed limit is not an obligation, and drivers should match their speed to road conditions, Kisseljov suggested.
An ERR cameraman who visited the scene Thursday morning said the road was covered in a light blanket of snow but was extremely slippery, even unto people finding it difficult to stay upright.
The national highway 11 (T11) or the Tallinn ring road sees very intense truck and passenger car traffic, especially during morning and evening rush hours.
The article was updated to add information about the possible fine amount the company responsible could be looking at.
Editor: Mait Ots