In Russia and Belarus, springtime roadblocks are once again in place for certain highways and a ban on day driving for heavy transports in the heat!
Since the 19th century, there has been a popular saying circulating in Russia, which allegedly dates back to Tsar Nikolai I, that says, “In Russia there are two main problems: fools and roads.” Today, many jokingly add, “And the former are responsible for the latter.” Even after 200 years, Russia’s roads remain a much-discussed topic. Even Vladimir Putin stated that improving road quality was one of the main tasks of the current government at a recent press conference. In fact, today in some regions of Russia, up to 80% of all roads do not meet current standards due to a lack of funds for infrastructural maintenance and repair. The roads in springtime are especially affected when melting snow softens the ground beneath and their load capacity rapidly dwindles. For this reason, since the days of the former USSR in 1969, a “regulation on the protection of highways” was put into force, effectively blocking certain roads during the spring season. Regulations of this kind have been put in place annually ever since, both in Russia and Belarus. The Belarusian Ministry of Transport published Regulation no. 6, dated 5 March; the list includes all the roads that are closed to trucks with an axle load of 6-9 tons from 21 March until 22 April ( toll motorways are continuously passable ). For Russia, springtime traffic limitations apply from the day the regulation is adopted until mid-June, depending on the region. During the summer period (20 May to 31 August 2016) another category enters into force for heavy transport in Belarus: From temperatures beginning at 25 degrees centigrade there is a ban between 11:00 to 22:00. In Russia the ban starts from 32 degrees for the period between 10:00 and 22:00. Since March 2016, highways now collect the much discussed “Platon” toll, charging foreign hauliers double the amount since April. Funds accrued from this toll will be earmarked for measures to improve the infrastructure.