Highway One is still ice covered and treacherous. In the past 24 hours Westman RCMP has responded to 24 incidents involving vehicle accidents.
The Trans-Canada Highway was closed overnight on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning the Dept. of Highways sanded the areas between the Saskatchewan border and Highway 21 before re-opening. Brandon and Virden RCMP members acted as pilot vehicles to assist in getting the sand to work into the ice and led the convoy of backed up vehicles at 60 km/hr. covering the areas from Saskatchewan to Brandon. Once these areas were covered, police separated from the group.
Unfortunately, within 25 minutes, Westman members responded to five tractor trailer units that jack-knifed, one SUV rollover, and one individual ran into a ‘CLOSED’ barricade. Since there was an obvious public safety risk, police then shut down the highway again.
Virden Emergency Group opened Tundra Oil & Gas Place due to the situation. Several individuals were boarded there and many others stayed in hotels.
Thursday morning the Dept. of Highways re-deployed sand, police re-opened the highway and then escorted the convoy covering the same areas as the day prior before breaking off.
Unfortunately, there has been a massive pile up on the Trans Canada Highway eastbound lane 10 km east of Hwy 21. STARS EMS has been deployed and there are more than a dozen vehicles involved in multiple collisions, resulting in semis being jack-knifed and blocking both lanes.
As a result of this, Police have once again had to close the Trans Canada Highway at Virden so more semis and vehicles are stopped before getting to the scene of this ongoing incident. This is for the safety of all the responders attending who are going to try and clean this mess up as soon as possible.
The Dept. of Highways has been working diligently, but unfortunately their salt techniques aren’t effective at such low temperatures and we’re going to need Mother Nature’s help to clear the ice that has built up on the road. If we could get temperatures above -18 we’ll see some improvements. In the meantime, stay off the highways when they are closed.
Please avoid #1 Highway east of Oak Lake as everyone involved tries to clean up the extensive mess in this major incident. Today is not a good day to be on the roads.