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Wintery blast in Winnipeg sees 97 vehicles in crashes

Wintery blast in Winnipeg sees 97 vehicles in crashes
Thursday’s snow and wind made for treacherous driving conditions prompting police to close Winnipeg bridges. Global's Timm Bruch reports.

Thursday’s snow and wind meant Winnipeg’s driving conditions turned treacherous during the commute home.

At around 6 p.m. on Thursday, police began receiving reports of numerous car collisions around the city.

The extreme conditions lead to police temporarily closing 14 of the city’s bridges and encouraging the public to take alternate routes.

“The situation was unique,” Cst. Rob Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service said. “I’ve never seen this many bridges subject to this treacherous of a situation all at once.”

WATCH: A Global viewer submitted this video of the scene on the south perimeter

Winnipeg Police advise motorists to avoid all bridges Thursday evening after wintery blast
Winnipeg Police advise motorists to avoid all bridges Thursday evening after wintery blast

All in all, 97 vehicles were involved in collisions across Winnipeg, with 55 needing to be towed away from the scene of a crash.

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“I’m born and raised in this city and I’m not aware of any situation that comes close to this,” Cst. Carver said.

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No one was seriously injured, although seven adults and two infants were taken to hospital in stable condition.

Roughly 30 police units were deployed to collisions throughout the night. The affected bridges had to wait to reopen until once they had been sanded, which meant up to four hours of closures.

READ MORE: Winter weather causing hazardous driving conditions across Manitoba

Friday, many were looking at the City’s response time and preparedness.

“We provided service based on the information we had,” said Jim Berezowsky, who is in Public Works for the City of Winnipeg. “The equipment and operations we had in place were from 7 a.m. in the morning and continued on throughout the day.”

The City pointed to a sudden shift in forecast that meant they were unprepared for the chaotic situation.

Even Mayor Brian Bowman called the conditions “brutal” on Friday.