ERR News – The Estonian Road Administration announced that all six of the state-funded ice roads were in service by February 26. The fifth, 12-kilometre link was opened on February 22, connecting the country's largest island to the mainland road network.
The last time motorists could make a circuitous tour of western Estonia and the country's two largest islands without boarding a ferry was in 2006.
A total of around 18,000 cars used the road between Kuivastu, Saaremaa Island, and Virtsu in mainland in those three weeks, ETV reported.
Estonia does not often feature in the category of "world's southernmost country" but it is one of the only countries at its latitude to have state-fun-ded ice roads that are relied on by many islanders to save time and money on travel.
For some islands, such as Kihnu off Pärnu, the ice road is viewed as essential. The sixth and final, Kihnu road could be opened this weekend, says the Road Administration.
The Road Administration spent about 150,000 euros on keeping four ice roads open last year. The head of the body's western region, Enn Raadik, said they had about 180,000 euros set aside for this year.
This year, four ice roads have been opened at earlier dates: Haapsalu is connected to the next peninsula in Lääne County, Hiiumaa to the mainland, Hiiumaa to Saaremaa, and the island of Vormsi to the mainland.
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