UK & World News

  • 3 December 2012, 11:28

Russia: Drivers Stuck In 120-Mile Traffic Jam

Tens of thousands of vehicles have been stuck - some for three days - in a huge traffic jam on a motorway northwest of Moscow.

The length of the queue on the M-10 highway, which is one of the busiest in the country, was put at up to 120 miles (200km), according to media reports.

Heavy snow has been blamed for the gridlock - with one driver reported as saying he had travelled just "one kilometre over 24 hours".

Field kitchens have been set up along stretches of the road but many drivers said they are running out of fuel to keep their engines and heating running in the sub-zero temperatures.

"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 truck driver called Sergei said.

A police official said that by Sunday evening "the reach of the traffic jam is no longer than 55km and is gradually falling". The motorway is now thought to be moving normally again.

But a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin has been ordered to report to Mr Medvedev on measures to end the jam and help the stranded motorists.

Russian authorities have been accused of sluggish responses to weather-related problems, including deadly wildfires in 2010 and flooding in the south this summer.

The M-10 highway links Moscow with Russia's second largest city St Petersburg, some 435 miles (700km) from the capital, and stretches on to the border with Finland.

Russia's roads have been the butt of criticism since Tsarist times and its infrastructure has been plagued with problems since the Soviet era when defence spending was high at the expense of roads, housing, healthcare and other civilian needs.