Highway 97 crash scene cleared south of Vernon

Hwy 97 very slippery

UPDATE 2:50 p.m.

RCMP tells Castanet that multiple collisions on Highway 97 led them to close a section of the highway south of Vernon Wednesday morning.

RCMP responded to a three-vehicle collision in the northbound lane at approximately 8 a.m. near the intersection of Bailey Road. On their way to the scene police witnessed additional collisions in the same area.

"In a short period of time, over 10 vehicles were involved in either single-vehicle or multi-vehicle collisions along an approximately 1 kilometre long stretch of Highway 97," says RCMP spokesperson Cst. Chris Terleski.

Luckily no one was seriously injured as a result of all of the incidents, however the northbound lane of Highway 97 was closed completely for two hours and southbound traffic was limited to one lane to allow police and other emergency responders to safely complete their work.

"As temperatures drop this evening, the slush and water that has accumulated on roadways is going to freeze causing ice to form on roadways," states Cst. Terleski, with the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. "We are asking motorist to avoid travel in the area if possible. If you do need to travel, please use caution as sudden changes in weather can cause road conditions to deteriorate. Reduce your speed, leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the next, and adjust your driving to the conditions."

UPDATE: 10:23 a.m.

DriveBC reports Highway 97 is cleared between Kalamalka Lakeview Drive and Birnie Road.

Motorist Corie McRae driving towards Vernon says traffic is beginning to move, however it's at a slow pace.

McRae says at one point she was stuck in traffic for over an hour without movement.

According the McRae and several other motorists travelling on Highway 97, conditions are still extremely icy with slush.

UPDATE: 9:16 a.m.

The City of Vernon is urging motorists to use extreme caution when travelling Wednesday morning as rain falling across the North Okanagan is causing slippery driving conditions.

At 8:30 a.m. this morning, DriveBC reported a vehicle incident on Highway 97 south of Vernon that led to a detour via Kalamalka Lakeview Drive.

The highway is also reported to have compact snow, slush and slippery sections between the south end of Coldstream and Grandview Flats Road, 17 kilometres north of Vernon.

Environment Canada is reporting this morning that the temperature is hovering around zero and to expect periods of wet snow mixed with rain to continue throughout the day.

The city advises that drivers and pedestrians are urged to use extreme caution as they travel in and around Vernon today, where roads appear to be wet, but may actually be icy due to changing weather conditions.

Motorists are told to slow down, leave space between themselves and other vehicles and watch carefully for other travellers as well as giving yourself extra time to reach your destination.

A fleet of city crews are out sanding and salting the road across Vernon, however the city notes that the slippery conditions are reported to be across the whole city and region.

ORIGINAL: 8:46 a.m.

Highway 97 is closed Wednesday morning due to a vehicle incident between Kalamalka Lakeview Dr. and Birnie Rd. just south of Coldstream.

The northbound lanes are closed, a detour on Kalamalka Lakeview Dr. is in effect.

Emergency crews are on scene and assessing the situation, the next update is not expected until 11 a.m.

Castanet has received multiple reports of wet icy conditions in that area.

Drivers are reminded to drive with extra caution and watch for slippery sections and water build up on roadways.

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