While the ice road between the mainland and the smaller island of Vormsi was opened on Thursday, the islanders on Hiiumaa and Saaremaa still have to wait, as the ice between the two largest islands isn't thick enough yet to take the weight of cars and trucks.
The ferry route between Rohuküla on the mainland and Heltermaa on the island of Hiiumaa is currently interrupted due to the very low water level in the shipping channel. A temporary connection between the island and the harbor of Virtsu has run since late on Thursday, but it is slow both because of the conditions along the route as well as the fact that the Saaremaa ferries are operating out of Virtsu as well.
The only other way Hiiumaa residents have to reach the mainland is by taking the much smaller ferry from Hiiumaa to Saaremaa first, and then to drive to Kuivastu and take the ferry from there. An ice road between the two major islands would make this a lot easier, but the ice isn't yet thick enough to take the weight of cars and trucks.
According to the Road Administration, the ice needs to be at least 24 centimeters (9.44 inches) thick, but the ice between the two islands is currently very uneven and at a minimal thickness of only 19 centimeters (7.48 inches) as measured this week. Provided the current weather conditions prevail, the road may be opened in about a week, officials of the Road Administration said.
Season's third ice road opened to island of Vormsi
Meanwhile the ice road to the smaller island of Vormsi was opened on Thursday. Cars can cross over between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., the distance to be done on the ice is 9.6 kilometers (just under 6 miles). The ice road starts close to Rohuküla on the mainland and takes drivers to Sviby on the island.
Two more ice roads are currently open, one between Haapsalu and Noarootsi, and another on Lake Peipus from Laaksaare to Piirissaare.
Editor: Dario Cavegn