African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Ice halts Oslo area traffic

Posted by African Press International on February 1, 2007

Motorists must brace for long queues as slippery roads closed one of the capital district’s main highways.

PHOTO: HANS O. TORGERSEN

*”One of the main Oslo traffic arteries was closed on Wednesday after a series of accidents linked to unusually slippery roads.

Freezing rain has paralyzed traffic in southeastern Norway.

PHOTO: HANS O.TORGERSEN

The conditions were so hazardous that authorities closed a stretch of main highway E18, in both directions between Vinterbro and Mastemyr on the outskirts of Oslo, after at least five accidents.

“It is too slippery,” Follo police operation leader Jan Eivind Myklatun told Aftenposten.no. “The road will be closed until it is salted and highway authorities have approved the job,” Myklatun said.

Follo police were receiving a steady stream of accident reports.

“We are logging the accidents now. We have had reports of two involving personal injury but we have no overview of how serious these injuries are. On top of this several have driven off the road. We know of five accidents due to slippery conditions,” Myklatun said.

The traffic halt will have a major impact on commuters and capital traffic.

“We don’t know how long we will have to close the E18 but we have to use the time it takes. There will be a major impact on motorists, with long queues. If this takes time we will also have to close the Nordby Tunnel so that people are not stuck waiting in there,” said Kai Gundersen of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

The conditions have been caused by freezing rain.

“The air is so warm that snow melts on the way down, but when it hits the ground it freezes instantly. This gives unusually slippery roads,” meteorologist Kristen Gislefoss at the Meteorological Institute told newspaper Romerikes Blad’s web site.

Gislefoss predicted that the situation would clear up but that slippery conditions would persist many places.

There were several reports of accidents and collisions within the Oslo area on Wednesday morning, and in the Romerike district northeast of Oslo a bus slid into a passenger car, injuring the motorist.”*

By Morten Andersen, Nina Lødemel and Jonathan Tisdall

________________________

*”/”*Lifted and published by African Press in Norway,apn, africanpress@chello.no, tel +47 932 99 739, source.aftenpostenENG

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