Lake Peipus ice route opens as Haapsalu-Noarootsi route closes

The Laaksaare-Piirissaare ice road on Lake Peipus.
The Laaksaare-Piirissaare ice road on Lake Peipus. Source: (Eero Vabamägi/Postimees/Scanpix)

The Haapsalu-Noarootsi ice road continues its on-off operational history this winter, being closed again on Friday. However, an ice road on Lake Peipus was opened on the same day.

The Haapsalu-Noarootsi route, which cuts out the circuitous route needed to get from the western Estonian town of Haapsalu to the adjacent Noarootsi peninsular, also on the mainland, over 4 km of ice, was first opened by the Road Administration (Maanteeamet) last Friday. However, it closed after a few hours, reopening the following Monday, only to close again on the Tuesday for several days.

It was apparently navigable for a short time on Friday, but the Road Administration closed it again on Friday due to moving ice in the bay, meaning there is no offshore ice route currently operating in Estonia.

Conversely, the Laaksaare-Piirissaare ice route on Lake Peipus, in the east of Estonia, which links a village on the lake's south-western shore to a small, but inhabited island just over 8km away, was opened.

As with all of Estonia's ice roads, passage is only permitted during daytime (09.00-16.00), and various regulations regarding speed, distance between vehicles etc. must be adhered to. Travellers must also register their journey with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) in advance.

Milder temperatures in February have caused a lot of snow and ice melt across the country.

The 26 km ice road to Hiiumaa, the longest in Europe, has not been open this winter.

The Road Administration operates updates in English on all ice routes here.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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