Kolyma River Crossing
The Russian Federal Highway connects Magadan and Yakutsk – actually, Nizhny Bestyakh on the eastern bank of Lena River at Yakutsk-, where the coldest temperature ever recorded outside Antarctica was recorded. It crosses forests, mountains, deserts, and everything in between. Much of it is unpaved and certainly not ideal for a casual Sunday drive.
Yakutsk is also the largest city built on continuous permafrost. Most houses are built on concrete piles because of the frozen ground. The length of the original road via Tomtor is about 1900km or 1180 miles. Locally, the road is known simply as Trassa (“The Route”), or Kolymskaya trassa (“The Kolyma Route”), since it is literally the only road in the area and therefore needs no special name to distinguish it from other roads. This road is extremely dangerous during the winter, which is ten months long, because the heavy snow, the ice, and an extremely reduced visibility. But in summers, the conditions of the road become extreme. On July and August, the mud is the worst enemy. Because of the permafrost there is no asphalt, creating a mud induced traffic jam every time the summer rains swing in the area.
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