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Return of snow leads to crashes, delays across B.C.’s South Coast

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver hit with blast of snow'
Metro Vancouver hit with blast of snow
WATCH: The overnight snowfall was forecast but the amount of it surprised many. Across Metro Vancouver cars littered ditches and many vehicles were spun out on roadways. Catherine Urquhart now with how people coped with the latest blast of winter. And senior meteorologist Kristi Gordon has an update on the forecast. – Jan 31, 2023

There were many crashes across the Lower Mainland Tuesday morning after snow fell across the region.

In Coquitlam, a transit bus crashed into oncoming cars on Laurentian Street.

In Abbotsford, some drivers lost control along Highway 1 due to the slick road conditions.

There was also a crash on Highway 1 eastbound east of 160 Street in Surrey,

Crashes in Burnaby, Vancouver, Langley, Port Moody, New Westminster, Port Moody, Delta and Maple Ridge snarled traffic as drivers tried to make it to work or school.

B.C.’s Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said while the snow “wasn’t particularly in the forecast,” the contractors were aware of the weather and were out overnight salting and brining the roads and highways.

“Certainly the evidence of the plowed highways was there, which was good,” Fleming said. “We got lucky this time that it was a light dusting.”

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On Monday evening, Global BC meteorologist Kristi Gordon said there was a 70 per cent chance of snow for the South Coast morning commute.

Fleming said the road maintenance contracts were renewed five years ago and the province now requires plows to clear down to the pavement as much as possible, and the companies undergo rigorous vetting to obtain those contracts.

When a snowstorm hit the South Coast last November, two Metro Vancouver councillors called for a snow summit to make sure the chaos that many drivers in the region faced does not happen again.

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Hundreds of drivers were trapped in their cars and on bridges, some for hours, after heavy snow that was in the forecast fell.

Councillors Daniel Fontaine of New Westminster and Linda Annis of Surrey wanted to bring together all Lower Mainland municipalities, the B.C. government, transit operators and road maintenance contractors.

“The snow that hit us on (Nov.29) wasn’t a surprise,” Fontaine said. “But the impact was a complete shutdown that closed roads and bridges and really brought much of the Lower Mainland to a complete halt.

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“I think it’s important to know why, and to work on a regional plan that does better next time. This has to be a combined effort of the province and local municipalities across the Lower Mainland.”

Click to play video: 'Snow slows morning commute in Metro Vancouver'
Snow slows morning commute in Metro Vancouver

The snow summit has not taken place at this time.

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Fleming said he is satisfied that municipalities now have a better plan to work with the province’s contracting crews to get roads cleared as soon as possible.

“No one controls the weather, of course,” he said. “I think there’s going to be some significant snowstorms in the years ahead of us.

A mix of rain and snow is expected to fall Tuesday evening and could impact the early morning commute, according to Gordon.

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure maintenance contractors will be monitoring conditions and will be out in full force to plow, sand and salt roads as necessary, the province said in a release.

Drivers are urged to use caution, avoid travel in poor weather conditions, prepare for delays and longer commutes, and ensure their vehicles are properly equipped with winter tires.

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