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Warnings issued after snow clearing equipment involved in 2 highway incidents in B.C. Interior

Motorists are being reminded to drive with caution on B.C. highways Wednesday as wintry weather could cause potentially harrowing conditions.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Motorists are being reminded to drive with caution on B.C. highways Wednesday as wintry weather could cause potentially harrowing conditions. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Drivers in B.C.'s Interior are being reminded to drive to the conditions after snow clearing equipment was involved in two separate highway collisions.

Argo Roads, which provides highway clearing service for several regions of the province, posted on the social media platform X that an accident was caused Tuesday when a truck attempted to pass a snowplow on the Coquihalla.

"This is a serious no-no," wrote Argo Roads.

Also Tuesday, there was a there was a collision between a logging truck and a snow plow on Highway 97 near Prince George.

"Road conditions on the highway are slick and police are asking drivers to slow down when they approach the incident location to help prevent further collisions," Prince George RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Cooper said in a media release.

Meanwhile, police are continuing to investigate after four people died in a crash along Highway 97 on Tuesday morning near Monte Lake, about 70 kilometres northwest of Vernon, B.C.

Snowfall warnings are in effect for several regions including the Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan and Kootenays, as well as the Coquihalla Highway, where up to 25 centimetres of snow is expected by this evening, making visibility a challenge for motorists.

Environment Canada has issued a highway alert for the Coquihalla from Hope to Merritt, reminding drivers to use winter tires and chains and to prepare for changing conditions throughout the day.

Further north, large amounts of snow fell Tuesday with crews still working to clear roads and highways. Compact snow and slippery sections remain a concern.

Read more about snow conditions across the province:

Road clearing to take several days

The City of Kamloops says crews have been working all night clearing major arterial roads prior to focusing on residential and side streets, and continued snowfall is keeping crews busy.

"We're fighting it hard but definitely not making the kind of headway in getting down to bare asphalt," said Glen Farrow, the city's manager of streets and environmental services, speaking on CBC's Daybreak Kamloops.

"Within storm mode, the focus is definitely to continue to focus on those main [roads]."

Snow blankets the streets of Kamloops, B.C. on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.
Snow blankets the streets of Kamloops, B.C. on Wednesday, January 17, 2024.

Snow blankets the streets of Kamloops, B.C., early Wednesday. (Doug Herbert/CBC )

A similar message has been issued in Prince George, with the city warning even without new snow it could take until Friday for residential roads to be fully cleared.

For up-to-date road conditions across the province, visit DriveBC on the service's website or X account.

On Wednesday morning, the service said its website was experiencing high traffic volumes and could be slower to load, particularly as people accessed the site's highway cameras.

Interior airport conditions

The Nelson Airport says WestJet and Air Canada have cancelled all morning and afternoon flights Wednesday due to inclement weather.

Travellers expecting to fly out of Nelson are asked to contact their airline, and not the airport's administration office, for more information.

The Kamloops and Kelowna airports are also showing some delayed and cancelled flights, although it is not clear if that is due to conditions in those cities, or because of delays at the Vancouver International Airport.

There has been minimal disruption Wednesday morning at the airport in Prince George, with the only posted cancellations being flights from Vancouver. WestJet has cancelled two flights leaving the tarmac in Terrace — to Calgary and Vancouver — so far.