As many as 40 vehicles went off the road along Highway 1 near Dead Man’s Flats on Wednesday as driving conditions deteriorated quickly, according to the RCMP.
RCMP said emergency crews were dealing with a number of collisions on the busy highway between Canmore and Calgary that brought traffic to a “standstill.”
EMS said eight people in stable, non-life-threatening condition were taken to hospitals in Calgary and Canmore. Of them, three were children.
RCMP said the highway was blocked at Dead Man’s Flats as of 5 p.m. and reopened at 9 p.m.
“Around 3:30 p.m. and a little bit afterward, a number of vehicles started going off the road around Dead Man’s Flats,” Sgt. Stan Andronyk said. “Obviously, the road conditions deteriorated in a hurry.
“It just must have been the perfect combination of weather — the snow and just the temperature that caused a drastic change in conditions.”
WATCH: Global News coverage of snowy road conditions near Calgary and along Highway 1 on Wednesday.
Andronyk said EMS and fire officials attended to some of the collisions.
Crews worked to get the vehicles cleared from the highway, but tow trucks also had difficulty getting to the crash sites due to the traffic backups.
Andronyk said officers were doing their best to check on people stranded on the highway, but advised anyone in need of immediate help to call 911. He also advised people against heading out on the highway until conditions improved.
“We just don’t want people driving out there and waiting in long lineups and being stuck for long periods of time,” he said.
“It would make conditions far better, working conditions for all the emergency crews, if there weren’t as many vehicles on the highway.”
A snowfall warning was issued for the Canmore-Kananaskis area on Wednesday at 5 p.m., with as much as 10 centimetres expected to fall. Environment Canada advised heavy snow would likely cause poor visibility.
“Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations,” Environment Canada said. “Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions.”
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