It’s been a busy afternoon for first responders in the London region.
Heavy snowfall in the early afternoon brought with it whiteout conditions in some areas along with blowing snow. Roads in many areas were already slick from a system of freezing rain that passed over the region in the morning.
Drivers on local 400-series highways and secondary routes have seen the worst of it, according to the OPP.
By mid-afternoon, provincial police reported officers in West Region had responded to more than 50 collisions throughout the day on provincial roadways.
West Region includes London and Middlesex, and spans as far west as Essex County, as far north as Bruce Peninsula and Grey County, and as far east as Haldimand and Wellington counties.
In Chatham-Kent alone, provincial police there reported they had responded to more than 15 weather-related collisions in just a four-hour afternoon period.
A collision on Hwy. 401 near Bloomfield Road around 4 p.m. shut down all westbound lanes of the highway for a little under an hour.
Closer to London, westbound traffic on the 401 was hampered for more than two hours through Ingersoll after two tractor trailers went into the ditch west of Culloden Road around 2:30 p.m. Traffic has since returned to normal.
And along Hwy. 402, an incident involving a jackknifed tractor-trailer around 9:30 a.m. forced the closure of westbound lanes for around two hours stretching from Centre Road to Kerwood Road. The rig went into the centre median ditch after losing control, police said in a media release.
It was the second time in a week that police have been forced to close a section of the 402 just west of London. Police closed a 58-kilometre stretch of the highway for three days late last week and over the weekend due to collisions and heavy snow squall activity.
OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk said drivers need to slow down during inclement conditions.
“With the weather deteriorating we just hope people use common sense and reduce their speeds. I know coming into work this morning we had people driving 120 and 130 on the highway,” Sanchuk said.
“You can not do those speeds when we have these weather conditions, with the extreme drop in temperature the roadways are quickly freezing.”
The Middlesex London Health Unit has issued a cold weather alert as temperatures are expected to continue to drop.
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