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article imageVideo: 125-mile long traffic jam on Russia's M-10 highway

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 4, 2012 in Technology
Heavy snow that started in Russia on Friday caused a traffic jam on the M-10 highway, the main highway linking Russia's biggest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. The traffic jam stretched for 125 miles and did not begin to resolve until Sunday evening.
Russia's state-run news network, RIA Novosti, said three feet of snow caused the massive 125-mile traffic jam on Highway M-10. The snow began on Friday and lasted through Sunday. According to imotortimes.com, the traffic jam left many travelers stranded from Friday to Sunday afternoon in freezing cold temperatures.
According RIA Novosti, the State Automobile Inspectorate, a division of Russia's Interior Ministry, said that while the traffic jam lasted, traffic on the highway was limited to people on foot, but by Sunday evening, vehicles began moving at about 3-6 miles per hour. CNN reports that the length of the traffic jam began reducing at the rate of three-fourths of a mile every hour.
RIA Novosti said:
“Travel remains stop-and-go for a stretch of between 135 and 190 kilometers (84-118 miles) on M-10 in Tver Region. One lane in each direction is clear of snow. Trucks are moving at roughly 5-10 kilometers per hour (3-6 mph)."
Reuters reports that on Sunday, a man told the state broadcaster he had advanced one kilometer in the previous 24 hours.
Reuters also reports that Interfax news agency quoted a police official saying on Sunday evening: "The reach of the traffic jam at present is no longer than 55 km and is gradually falling."
imotortimes.com reports that Russian media said the traffic jam began 30 miles northwest of Tver when heavy snow hit the region. But commuters unaware of the severe weather conditions ahead did not take precautions to avoid it.
Traffic jams resulting from heavy snow are not unusual in Russia, but this year's has been worse that in previous years.
Drivers and passengers said that cafes along the roadway took advantage of the situation to increase prices for drivers and passengers. Drivers also complained that gas stations along the length of road ran out of fuel. People grumbled that the authorities were doing very little to help, CNN reports.
The Huffington Post reports that Russians took to social media complaining about the traffic jam and price gouging by businesses providing essential services along the highway.
According to Reuters, a truck driver stuck in the jam who identified himself as Sergei, told Rossiya 24 TV channel that "Drivers help one another and that's it, the problems are on the side of the authorities, there are no gasoline tankers, no water, nothing, we are just stuck here."
A government spokesman said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sent Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov to Tver on Sunday for a meeting on the situation, Reuters reports, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was ordered to report to Medvedev on Monday on measures to end the jam.
According to imotortimes, a ministry spokesman said: "Emergencies Minister Vladmir Puchkov is making sure that all necessary measures are being taken and that all vital personnel in afflicted regions have everything they need, particularly for the warming stations and hot food distribution along the highway."
CNN reports that besides private entrepreneurs, staff and agents of the Emergencies Ministry set up kitchens in inflatable tents along the side of the highway where people could get hot food and drink. RIA Novosti also reports the Emergencies Ministry provided psychological support to those who found it difficult to cope.
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