Storm forces highway closure, causes multiple crashes
Published Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:26AM CST
Last Updated Monday, November 12, 2012 11:05AM CST
Winnipeggers got a jolt of reality Sunday morning, waking up to a thick carpet of snow and icy roadways.
A major storm system moved through southern Manitoba over the weekend. Friday and early Saturday packed less of a punch than first anticipated, but the city was hit hard later in the evening when the storm intensified and rotated. Over 25 centimetres of snow fell overnight Saturday.
City driving conditions were so bad that Winnipeg police advised against road travel within city limits.
Problems continued outside of the city. RCMP were forced to close Highway 1 between Brandon and Headingley after near white-out conditions made it impossible for safe travel on the roadway.
The highway was closed around 10:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Sunday morning, almost 100 trucks lined Highway 1 near the Headingley closure, waiting for the roadway to reopen.
The trucks stretched across almost two kilometres of the highway.
Shortly after it reopened though, a semi truck jack-knifed and slid into the ditch. RCMP were forced to close the westbound lanes of Highway 1 at the Portage la Prairie bypass again for several hours.
The highway was finally reopened fully around 3 p.m.
Motorists weren’t the only ones facing delays. A number of flights were delayed or cancelled throughout the weekend.
Traveller Bruce Clayton said his flight from California almost had to be rerouted to Toronto.
“I was so happy when the plane touched down, but this is what my reward was!” said Clayton.
In Winnipeg, city crews used 200 plows to clear streets. Special attention was paid to main routes and areas where outdoor Remembrance Day ceremonies were scheduled to be held. Sunday morning three cemeteries were plowed, including the St. Vital, Brookside and Transcona cemeteries.
City workers were also seen putting up temporary no-parking signs on Portage Avenue, warning drivers the street would be plowed between 8 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday.
A formal parking ban is slated for Monday evening, when parking on residential streets in a number of city zones will be banned.
The ban applies to several snow zones across the city and will apply in 12-hour shifts that start at 7 p.m. and end at 7 a.m. the following day.
The parking bans are to allow for plowing of residential streets and should end by Thursday, Nov. 15, according to city officials.
Regardless of the slow-downs, parking restrictions and buckets of snow, Clayton said he’s happy to be back in the ‘Peg.
“It’s not quite like California, but its home,” said Clayton.