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Drivers face ‘less than ideal’ conditions on southern, central Alberta roads, highways

Click to play video: 'Winter wallop causes a number of crashes on Calgary roadways'
Winter wallop causes a number of crashes on Calgary roadways
WATCH: A winter wallop on the first day of spring caused some crashes and chaos on Calgary’s roadways. As Tomasia DaSilva reports, drivers are being advised to take it slow as the city gets to work – Mar 20, 2024

Old man winter wasn’t ready to release his grip on the first day of spring, as significant snowfall snarled traffic on highways and roadways in southern and central Alberta.

Airdrie RCMP issued a warning for drivers to be careful on the roads on Wednesday with highway conditions being “less than ideal” as officers responded to a collision on Highway 2.

“(We) would like to remind the public that, when road conditions are less than ideal, it is best to slow down and drive to the conditions of the road and be mindful of emergency services assisting the scenes,” police said.

At 9:45 a.m., the RCMP issued a news release to say officers were called to the northbound lanes of Highway 2 near Veterans Boulevard after a collision involving a semi-truck.

Police said one northbound lane was blocked and that “traffic is moving slow in this area.”

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“Southbound lanes on Highway 2 north of Airdrie are also down to one lane due to a separate incident.”

Police did not say if anyone was injured in either incident.

A jackknifed semi also interrupted southbound traffic flow on the QEII south of Red Deer at around 9:30 a.m. Those lanes were reopened four hours later.

Earlier in the morning, High River RCMP warned people to drive carefully and “to the conditions of the road” after responding to a collision south of Calgary.

Calgary police said that as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, there were a total of 138 collisions in the city – 14 involving injuries, 19 non-injury hit and runs, and one hit and run involving an injury.

Multiple collisions were reported along Deerfoot Trail and multiple parts of Stoney Trail through Wednesday.

At around 1:25 p.m., emergency crews were called to the area of westbound Stoney Trail near Metis Trail Northeast for reports of a vehicle which spun off the road and into some water.

A vehicle is pictured in some water after spinning off the road in Calgary near Stoney Trail and Metis Trail N.E. on March 20, 2024. Global News

Police said the driver was the only occupant. The Calgary Fire Department said it helped the driver with a PFD and used a ladder to help the person escape from the vehicle, unharmed.

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Multiple truck drivers Global News spoke with said the weather was impacting their routes throughout the city.

“It takes a lot longer than usual,” Dan Brotton said.

Dave Steen said he came into Calgary from west of the city to make a delivery and noticed the highways were fine on Wednesday morning until he hit Banff.

“It got worse when I got closer to (Calgary),” Steen said.

Steen had tried and true advice for driving in winter weather.

“Just slow down. Just keep your eye on everybody.”

Still being on winter shifts, city snow crews were out in full force on Wednesday clearing high volume Priority 1 roads like Crowchild Trail, Glenmore Trail and John Laurie Boulevard.

“Our focus is on keeping the most Calgarians moving safely through our corridors. Our focus is, of course, those busy, high-volume roads that carry the most Calgarians,” Chris McGeachy with the city said. “So our recommendation is to try and stick to those routes.”

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He noted that the city’s Priority Snow Plan means snow clearing work in residential neighbourhoods usually comes after the snow ends, with some work done on an as-needed basis.

“We anticipate there’s going to be snowfall continuing overnight and Thursday it’s going to intensify. So we do anticipate by Thursday afternoon about 20 cm of accumulation,” McGeachy said.

The city also has a snow clearing bylaw, requiring snow and ice be removed from public sidewalks bordering on private property within 24 hours of the snowfall ending.

“Having shovelled my own walk, this snow is wet. It’s very heavy. So if you are getting out there to shovel, just keep that in mind,” McGeachy said. “Take plenty of breaks. Try and get to it often.”

Much of southern Alberta remained under a snowfall warning on Wednesday that had been issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada a day earlier.

Snow is expected to continue to fall throughout the week, with up to 30 cm expected by the weekend.

Click to play video: 'Are you prepared for winter driving?'
Are you prepared for winter driving?

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