TBILISI, February 1 (Itar-Tass) — More than a hundred cars were stuck on the Georgian Military Road in Georgia’s Dusheti district Wednesday afternoon, as their drivers and passengers awaited the opening of a section of the road that traverses the Cross Pass and that was closed for traffic due to a thick snow cover and the risk of a descent of snow avalanches from mountain slopes.
“This section of the Georgian Military Road is closed for traffic and the heavy risk of snow avalanches doesn’t make it possible to start snowplowing there,” an official at the Dusheti district administration told reporters.
The snow cover at the Cross Pass, which is located at an elevation of over 2,300 meters, reaches 2.0 meters in thickness and the situation is complicated additionally by a biting frost and iciness.
Blocked in the traffic jam are about twenty heavy duty trucks heading from Armenia to Russia. Their drivers say they will wait until the road is reopened.
The previous time the authorities had to close the Cross Pass for traffic because of heavy snowfalls and snow avalanches was from January 18 through to January 22, but the intensive efforts of road maintenance services helped resume the traffic soon enough.
The Georgian Military Road is a historical route linking the city of Vladikavkaz, the administrative center of Russia’s region of North Ossetia, and the Georgian capital Tbilisi across the Greater Caucasus Range.
It stretches through the valley of the river Terek, crosses the Rocky Ridge and the Darial Gorge, passes by Mount Kazbek, which is the second highest peak in Europe, continues along the Tetri Aragvi river and then follows the right-hand bank of the Kura River past the olden city of Mtskheta to Tbilisi.
Construction of the original road took up several decades in the first half of the 19th century after the Kingdom of Georgia had completed accession to the Russian Empire.
The Cross Pass section is located at the highest geographic elevation. Its height reaches 2,379 meters.
A cross was installed there to mark is highest point in 1824.