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1st snowfall of season means delays, collisions on Edmonton-area roads

Click to play video: '1st snowfall of season in Edmonton area leads to delays and collisions'
1st snowfall of season in Edmonton area leads to delays and collisions
The first snowfall of the season led to nearly 200 collisions being reported in Edmonton. City crews were out spreading a mix of sand and salt, and this year the municipality said road crews will be focusing on areas that city council decided were “higher priority." Mason DePatie explains. – Oct 23, 2023

The first snowfall of the season for much of central and southern Alberta early Monday morning had some roads and highways in poor condition.

The morning commute in Edmonton was slow and slippery.

Between 8 a.m. and about 5 p.m., 193 collisions were reported in the city, including 27 involving injuries, according to Stephanie Greening with Accident Support Services International.

Valerie Dacyk, general supervisor for the city’s field operations, said there were between 60 to 70 trucks on the road Monday, depending on the hour. She said crews were working overnight and have been preparing for the snow since 7 p.m. Sunday.

Click to play video: 'First snowfall of the season leads to slick morning commute in Edmonton'
First snowfall of the season leads to slick morning commute in Edmonton

“All our snow and ice staff started this weekend, so we did have crews on, trucks ready to go. Luckily the snow aligned perfectly with the start of our season.”

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Season to season, she said, the city has to transition its equipment and vehicles.

“We had to turn all our trucks over from summer haulers to winter snow and ice plow/sanders,” Dacyk said. “We also ensured we had enough materials on site to stock those sanders to make sure the roads had traction material as they needed.”

Click to play video: 'First snowfall of the season leads to slick morning commute in Edmonton'
First snowfall of the season leads to slick morning commute in Edmonton

Sand is used in very, very cold conditions, she explained, while a mix of sand and salt is used when temperatures are closer to zero.

“In warmer conditions like we are today, when it’s closer to zero, (it’s) a mixture of sand and salt, which is why you might not see sand sitting on the roadway.”

This year, Dacyk said the department will be focusing on areas that council decided were “higher priority” and aligning staffing with those priorities. More details will be released on Friday, she added.

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First snowfall of the season in Edmonton on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. Global News

Leduc RCMP said road conditions on the QEII and area roadways were “poor” Monday afternoon and that there were “numerous collisions.”  They asked drivers to take extra precautions or consider avoiding travel altogether.

Further south, Innisfail RCMP were warning of “extremely poor” road conditions on the QEII Highway, particularly between Carstairs and Olds, where they reported “numerous — potentially 12” — collisions. Drivers were asked to avoid the area entirely.

Special weather statements and snowfall warnings were issued for central and southern Alberta by Environment Canada.

In the Edmonton area, a total of two to five centimetres of snow is expected by Monday evening.

“The first snowfall of the season is underway across central Alberta,” the weather agency said.

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“Snowfall accumulations will vary as some of the snow will melt on contact with the relatively warm ground… Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions.”

Click to play video: 'Tow trucks given priority at Edmonton’s Collision Reporting Centres'
Tow trucks given priority at Edmonton’s Collision Reporting Centres

In Edmonton, collision reporting centres — a partnership between Edmonton police and Accident Support Services International (ASSI) — are open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Drivers can check the projected wait times at the collision centres online.

The north site is located at 15750 116 Avenue NW and the south site is at 5805 87A Street NW.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton collision reporting centres put to the test amid 1st snowfall of the season'
Edmonton collision reporting centres put to the test amid 1st snowfall of the season
First snowfall of the season in Edmonton, Landowne overlooking the Whitemud on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. Dave Carels, Global News
First snowfall of the season in Edmonton, Landowne overlooking the Whitemud on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. Dave Carels, Global News
First snowfall of the season in Edmonton, Landowne overlooking the Whitemud on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. Dave Carels, Global News

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