Big Freeze in Russia Allows Rare Access to Isolated Island

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
February 10, 2017News

Lake Baikal in southern Russia froze this week enabling an 11-kilometre (6.8-mile) road to open.

The road provides the only drivable access route to Olkhon Island, which, at 730 square kilometres (453 square miles), is one of the largest islands within a lake anywhere in the world.

Until the lake freezes over, more than 1,600 people who live on the island have to rely on a hovercraft service provided by the Russian Emergency Ministry.

During the summer months, when there is no ice, locals are able to get around by boat.

Since last October, when the waters around the island became too frozen to navigate but not solid enough to drive on, residents have been waiting for the ice to thicken.

The ice needs to be at least 57 centimeters (22.4 inches) thick to safely withstand the weight of cars.

In about a month, the ice will begin to melt, and once again to the access road will disappear.

Current temperatures in the area range between -10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit) and -20 Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).


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