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    AVALANCHES CAUSE CLOSE OF TRANSCAUCASIAN MOTOR ROAD

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    VLADIKAVKAZ, 14 February, 2004. /RIA Novosti correspondent Vladimir Gutnov/. -In the small hours of Saturday, the authorities closed the Transcaucasian motor-road, one of the two thoroughfares linking Russia with Transcaucasia across the Main Caucasian Ridge, Boris Dzgoyev, head of the Emergencies Ministry in North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus) told RIA Novosti.

    According to the Minister, he ordered to close the backbone motor-way following descent of several new avalanches.

    "18 lorries were trapped between two avalanches on the road. Rescue teams and road workers managed to lead the vehicles out of the dangerous area by a one-lane path they had made through a mass of snow". The Minister said that the avalanches had caused no injuries or loss of life.

    At present, road maintenance workers are clearing out the motor-road which is going to be closed for at least the next 24 hours.

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