Oulu-Hailuoto ice road

Oulu-Hailuoto, a Finnish ice road

Ice road between Oulu-Hailuoto, connection on the road 816, with a total length of 9km in Finland. The road links Oulu, a city and municipality of 145,256 inhabitants in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia, in Finland and Hailuoto, an island and a municipality in the province of Oulu, Finland.

The ice road between Oulu and the island Hailuoto used to be opening 4-5 months a year, but now due to climate change it is only open for 4-5 weeks. The ice needs to be over 70 cm to safely support traffic up to 3 tons, but the Bay of Botnia is having thinner ice nowadays. Instead the icebreaking ferry must run every hour during most of the winter adding to the CO2 problem.
During most of the year a ferry operates between Hailuoto and the mainland. The ten-kilometre ice road, the longest in the country, considerably improves access to the island. Some Hailuoto residents have been calling for the construction of a bridge to the island. The roads are designed to access harvesting sites in locations where it is not profitable to build a summer road, or the construction and use of a summer road is not feasible for reasons of conservation.

This kind of roads roads are constructed compacting snow and pumping water from holes in the ice onto a road area that measures about 50m wide. Records are kept of the development of ice thickness, and an inspection is done before it can be opened. The ice must needs to be 120 cm thick before it will carry a fully loaded timber truck. The timber must be hauled away from ice roads by the end of March. Ice roads are equipped with the necessary warning and other road signs. After use, ice roads are normally closed in order to prevent access by cars as the bearing capacity of the ice is reduced.
Pic: https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/its_official_spring_began_april_2_says_fmi/6575892



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