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Drivers asked to avoid 'unnecessary travel' amid snowfall warnings

A motorist turns around after attempting to drive up a snow and ice covered hill in Vancouver, on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck A motorist turns around after attempting to drive up a snow and ice covered hill in Vancouver, on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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Drivers across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are being asked to avoid non-essential travel this weekend, as potentially record-breaking snowfall threatens to close highways and bridges.

On Friday, much of Southern B.C. remained under a special weather statement from Environment Canada.

“We’ve been monitoring this weather forecast for several weeks now. It’s going to be a fairly significant event for the entire South Coast region,” said Ashok Bhatti, the executive director of the South Coast Region for the Ministry of Transportation.

Periods of heavy snow are expected on Saturday into Sunday morning with total accumulations of 15 to 25 centimetres possible in some areas, while higher elevations may see up to 35.

In a statement, the province’s Ministry of Transportation advised drivers to avoid “unnecessary travel” and prepare for delays and longer commutes if they need to head out on the roads.

“Only travel if you absolutely need to, the conditions will be challenging,” Bhatti said.

Drivers are also asked to ensure their vehicles are equipped with snow tires and be aware of the condition of the roads they’re planning to take.

“Maintenance contractors are proactively applying anti-icing brine, and will plow and sand to manage any accumulation of snow,” the ministry said in a statement.

Bhatti said the ministry’s focus will be on addressing as many areas as possible ahead of the major snowfall, in order to keep the roads as clear as possible.

“We have a list of all the different areas that we know have been challenging during the previous winter events so those areas have become focal points for us,” Bhatti said.

The ministry added that bridges and highways may be closed on short notice, or have lanes reduced, for safety reasons.

In the Lower Mainland, ice technicians will be stationed at the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges, activating cable collars as necessary to clear any accumulations of snow.

“Drivers can assist maintenance crews by providing space for them on highways and moving over safely when they see a vehicle with an amber light approaching,” the ministry said.

For the latest information on road conditions, drivers can visit Drive BC’s website.

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