BC says people leaving work early contributed to snow havoc on highways

Nov 30 2022, 9:57 pm

People leaving work early may have contributed to the night’s snow havoc on BC highways.

The BC Ministry of Transportation has offered some insight into what went wrong on highways and bridges last night, and it seems to be pointing the fingers at commuters for some of it.

We reached out to the ministry earlier in the day, which received so many requests for comment, it decided to hold an impromptu Zoom conference.

During that conference, it seemed that the ministry was, at least to some degree, pointing the finger at commuters who were either changing their routines because of the snow forecast or leaving work early.

BC Ministry of Transportation Deputy Regional Director Janelle Staite led the Zoom call, answering reporters’ questions and offering insight into what went wrong.

Staite said the ministry was aware of the Environment Canada forecast but that it began snowing up to six cm per hour at one point, beyond what was expected. Daily Hive reported that it would snow one to three cm per hour.

“By late into the evening, we had between 20 to 30 centimetres of snow accumulate depending on the area,” she said.

She added that the ministry had all its snow plows deployed, totaling around 30. Staite said that congestion made it challenging for contractors to get out and keep plowing. She also said that a “big piece” of last night’s mayhem was people being out on the road when they didn’t need to be.

“What we found yesterday is around one or two o’clock, when people saw the snow starting to fly, they actually started leaving their work or changing their routines a little bit,” said Staite.

She added that the congestion we would usually see around 4:30 pm, we instead saw at approximately 2 pm. That congestion wasn’t cleared until the “wee hours of the morning.”

She also asked for more help from the public.

“If you see an amber flasher coming up and a piece of equipment, allowing that piece of equipment to pass because it will make the road safer and clearer and allow people to drive with more ease.”

The ministry is looking at more snow potentially inbound for Friday, and contractors are looking at what they might be able to do differently. Thankfully, the ministry has not received any reports of fatalities linked to last night’s snow event.

It isn’t expected to snow nearly as much on Friday, but it will be interesting to see how things shape up on BC roads and highways.

Do you agree that a rush of people leaving work early and creating congestion contributed to the snow events on major BC highways?

Let us know in the comments.

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