Slippery roads and poor visibility due to heavy snowfall across central Alberta led to several vehicles hitting the ditch along the QEII, while a section of the highway was closed near Red Deer, according to RCMP.
Blackfalds RCMP said there were hazardous driving conditions near Gasoline Alley. Police said around 11:30 a.m. that officers were dealing with a number of vehicles that had left the road.
Traffic was being re-routed around a section of Highway 2‘s northbound lanes between the Gasoline Alley and 67 Street exits.
Major delays were expected, RCMP said.
“The QEII has been terrible all day,” RCMP spokesperson Const. Mike Hibbs said. “Vehicles leaving the road, into ditches.”
WATCH: A blast of winter lead to treacherous conditions on multiple Alberta highways on Friday. As Christa Dao reports, slippery roads and reduced visibility are to blame for many cars hitting the ditch.
RCMP closer to Edmonton also advised drivers to stay off Highway 16, Highway 216 (Anthony Henday Drive), and Highway 14 because of multiple collisions and poor conditions.
Just before 1 p.m., RCMP implemented a tow restriction on Highway 2, throughout the County of Leduc.
“It’s just not safe to be out there,” Hibbs said.
“Tow companies should not work toward removing vehicles from ditches unless directed by the RCMP,” officers said in a news release. “Motorists are encouraged to slow down and drive according to conditions being mindful that recovery efforts may be underway in various locations on the QEII.”
The poor conditions come amid a snowfall warning for the Edmonton region, along with areas north of Calgary and in central Alberta.
Environment Canada said about 10 to 15 centimetres of snow was expected in most regions, however, heavier amounts of 20 to 25 centimetres are possible in some areas by the time the snow ends.
On Friday morning, southern areas closer to Calgary had already recorded close to 20 centimetres of snow.
The heavy snow is expected to taper off by the afternoon.
If drivers have to travel, RCMP is encouraging motorists to reduce their speed and check the weather and road conditions before heading out.
WATCH BELOW: A lot of Alberta highways were in rough shape Friday after another snowfall and snowfall warning from Environment Canada. This is Highway 16 east of Edmonton.
“The weather caught a lot of people unexpected,” Hibbs said.
“We’ve had a really busy day. Over in the Strathcona County area, between Highway 14 and Wye Road in Sherwood Park there was a multi-vehicle collision. Luckily no major injuries… That closed the section of the highway down for a while.”
WATCH BELOW: Mike Sobel’s Friday, March 8, 2019 early morning weather forecast for Edmonton, Alta., and the surrounding area.