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Christmas traffic peak due on Friday

Commuters travelling for the festive season will fill outbound motorways from Helsinki on Friday afternoon, according to the Transport Agency.

Liikennettä Hämeenlinnanväylällä.
Holiday traffic is gaining steam. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

After midday on Friday traffic out of Helsinki will begin its busiest period, as people hit the road ahead of the holidays. The Finnish Transport Agency (FTA) says highways will be especially congested into Saturday on roads to cities such as Tampere, Lahti, Porvoo and Turku.

"Average speeds will definitely be falling here in Helsinki, but after 6 pm traffic will ease up again," Transport Agency duty officer Ville Varjonen says. "Everything should go smoothly if drivers adhere to the minimum safety margin between cars."

Return traffic after Christmas should be less frantic, the FTA says, with drivers coming back over the course of several days. Boxing Day between noon and 7 pm will likely be peak time for post-holiday drivers, especially on motorways 3 and 4 into the capital.

"The days between Christmas and New Year's are usually reserved for rest rather than travel," Varjonen estimates.

Trains and planes operate typically

State rail firm VR says that Friday and Saturday will be busiest on the country's tracks, with return traffic moving along steadily as expected.

Helsinki Airport is expected to be no busier than usual as the holidays get started. Heikki Koski from airport operator Finavia says the normal two-hour margin will be fine as a precaution against potential rushes to places such as the Canary Islands.

Weather conditions will vary between clear skies and snow flurries in southern and central regions. A snow front will move into Finland from the west on Saturday, compromising driving conditions. Christmas day will dawn clear.

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