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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tanker Tragedy Prompts Safety Rethink

The mayor of Moscow on Wednesday decreed that all gasoline tankers are to be repainted in bright colors and fitted with flashing lights, following a tragic accident last week in which 11 people burned to death.

Andrei Varchenya, a spokesman for the city government, also said that further innovations in the traffic system are planned that would ban all trucks from inside the Garden Ring road between 8A. M. and 8P. M. , and give higher priority to thoroughfares leading out of the city to relieve traffic on the ring roads.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov ordered that all gasoline tankers must be repainted in bright colors by the end of the week and must be fitted with yellow flashing warning lights within 10 days. The city government will allocate 320 million rubles for the job.

The decree also ordered that the bulk of gasoline should be distributed by night and listed streets that the tankers are prohibited to enter. The tankers will be banned from driving inside the Garden Ring road and along the big central streets outside it.

Luzhkov returned from holiday Monday and immediately visited Sklifosovsky emergency hospital, where 14 victims of Thursday's trolleybus accident are undergoing treatment.

Varchenya said that a commission set up last Friday - one day after the accident - has provided 1. 8 million rubles to cover the funeral expenses for the 11 dead.

The accident occurred when a truck tried to squeeze past a gasoline tanker at a stop light in north Moscow, puncturing the reservoir and pouring gasoline onto the road. When the spill caught fire it incinerated two trolleybuses and killed ten people. An eleventh died in the hospital of burn wounds Monday.

Families of the dead will receive a 250, 000 ruble compensation, while those hospitalized will get 150, 000 and other victims can claim 50, 000 rubles, said Varchenya.

Luzhkov also drafted additional projects in connection with the three-stage conversion of the traffic pattern around the Kremlin. It started June 15 and will finish Aug. 15, when all major avenues around the Kremlin will permit one-way traffic only.

Among new developments decided at a meeting of the traffic authority Monday, a new trolleybus route will be started around the Kremlin, while Varchenya said that in three months, no trucks will be allowed inside the Garden Ring from 8 A. M. to 8 P. M.

The changes are designed to send more cars along the Boulevard and Garden Rings. To free these streets, in turn, the priority in green lights will be given to radial streets coming out of the center, Varchenya said.