'Stay home': Snow chaos on Swedish E4 road 'worst since 1995'

TT/The Local
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'Stay home': Snow chaos on Swedish E4 road 'worst since 1995'
Traffic stuck in a snowstorm on the E4 earlier this year. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT

Queues on the E4 road near Jönköping were as much as 25 kilometres long on Tuesday, with some people who had slept in their cars overnight still stuck in the traffic jam on Wednesday morning.


During the night, rescue services handed out water, energy bars and blankets to people in the traffic jam, some of which had been stuck since 5pm on Tuesday following a traffic accident.

"I haven't experienced such an extensive snowstorm since 1995," Göran Melin, deputy head of Jönköping rescue services, told TT newswire.

In some areas, the rescue services sliced through the barrier on the motorway's central reservation to assist cars in exiting the queue, but in others the height difference was too great. Some drivers were also helped to reverse out of the traffic jam.

"We have five large wheel loaders which have shovelled out car after car," Melin said. "We've hit the jam from two directions."

Local rescue services worked together with staff from the Swedish Transport Administration, police, ambulance services, municipality and volunteers.

One person stuck in the queue was taken away in an ambulance, but otherwise people have managed well considering the circumstances, Melin said.

"We've had good cooperation during the night."

Melin also highlighted the fact that the area was under an orange weather warning for heavy snow and strong winds on Tuesday.


"An orange weather warning means that you're not meant to head out onto the roads unless it's really necessary," he said, adding that the fact that many people have already changed over to summer tires may have worsened the situation.

On Wednesday morning, Melin encouraged drivers in Jönköping to stay home, despite the fact that the orange weather warning was no longer in place.

"There's still no movement northbound on the E4. We remain in contact with people who are still stuck and most of them are holding out."

Work to lessen the traffic jam was progressing slowly, according to officials from the municipality, although it could not predict when everyone stuck in the traffic jam would be freed.

"Don't head out unless you have to, and if you have summer tyres you should absolutely stay home," Transport Administration press communicator Sara Lundström told TT.


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