Haapsalu-Noarootsi ice road opens...then closes again ({{commentsTotal}})

The Haapsalu-Noarootsi ice road was opened briefly to traffic on Friday morning.
The Haapsalu-Noarootsi ice road was opened briefly to traffic on Friday morning. Source: (Juhan Hepner/ERR)

The ice road between Haapsalu and Noarootsi opened on Friday at 11.00 EET, only to close a few hours later.

The 4km stretch of ice road, a short cut between the mainland town of Haapsalu and the Noarootsi peninsular, also on the mainland (see map below), was opened to vehicles weighing up to 2.5 tonnes.

However, thawing conditions and an unexpected volume of traffic prompted the Road Administration (Maanteeamet) to close the route just a few hours later.

For further updates, the Road Adminstration directs drivers to the Tark Tee site here.

Whilst no ice roads off the Estonian coast are open at present, the Road Administration reminds drivers to stick to the following regulations at all times:

  • Vehicles can only embark on ice road journeys from marked points, at a minimum of two-minute intervals per vehicle.
  • The recommended speed is up to 25 km/h or between 40-70 km/h. Speeds between 25-40 km/h can apparently generate vibration resonances which could shatter ice.
  • Vehicles can only embark on ice road journeys from marked points, at a minimum of two-minute intervals per vehicle.
  • A minimum distance of 250 m must be kept between vehicles.
  • Overtaking is forbidden, as is driving in the opposite direction to that marked on the ice road.
  • Driving off the marked ice road area is strictly forbidden.
  • Seat belts must not be worn, and care should be taken that vehicle doors can be easily opened.
  • Stretches of ice road with uneven surfaces must be negotiated at the lowest possible speed.
  • Drivers should keep a fully-charged mobile phone with the ice road emergency phone number, signposted at the start of the route (presumably different ice routes have different numbers) saved in the phone.

The Road Administration reiterates that drivers must never embark on unopened or unmarked ice routes. In Febraury 2018, four people died when a van plunged through the ice after driving on ice near Pärnu, where no marked route was present. Last winter the Haapsalu-Noarootsi ice road itself didn't open until 21 February.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte



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