Travel advisory: Bridge and highway closures possible due to snow
VANCOUVER -- Another dump of snow in the Lower Mainland has led to hazardous conditions on local highways, prompting closures and a travel advisory from the province.
At around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the Ministry of Transportation issued a statement warning Lower Mainland drivers to prepare for delays and possible closures because of the snow.
"With a snowy weather forecast leading into this evening and tomorrow, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure advises it may be necessary to close bridges and highways as a precautionary measure to help ensure the safety of travellers," the ministry said in a statement.
"These conditions may lead to lane closures and/or full bridge closures, given the challenges already faced managing these weather conditions on the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges due to snow shedding."
The ministry said its staff are closely monitoring the weather as well as the condition of highways and bridges.
Earlier in the day, the ministry advised drivers to "avoid all but essential travel" throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
"Persistent snow, high winds and cold temperatures are causing poor road conditions," the transportation ministry said in a statement.
"Those who must travel are asked to use extreme caution and drive to the conditions. The ministry advises travellers to expect winter conditions for the rest of the week."
Conditions on highways weren't much better. Just before 7:30 a.m., a stretch of Highway 1 was closed between Sumas Way in Abbotsford and Lickman Road because of the weather.
At about 12:30 p.m., westbound traffic was reopened, but the highway was still closed for those heading east. Detours were available along Highway 7 via Highway 11 and Highway 9, DriveBC said. Eastbound lanes reopened around 4 p.m., but the ministry warned that crews may need to close Highway 1 westbound west of Hope again because of poor visibility and drifting snow.
Just before 8 a.m., a stalled vehicle caused major delays on the Alex Fraser Bridge and there was still heavy congestion on the bridge in the early afternoon.
Traffic was severely backed up in Metro Vancouver with delays expected in most cities.
"All motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and drive according to weather and road conditions, slowing down when they encounter bad weather or limited visibility," the transportation ministry said.
"Keep well back of all the winter maintenance equipment on highways so operators can perform their maintenance safely."