West Kelowna  

Icy conditions led to multiple crashes, closures on Okanagan Connector overnight

'Brutal conditions' on 97C

UPDATE: 9:35 a.m.

Luke Boutwell was driving eastbound on the Okanagan Connector Thursday night when he came upon what he described as "brutal conditions" at the Pennask Summit.

He says when he arrived at the summit at about 8:30 p.m., the road was completely covered in ice, and many vehicles had slid off the road.

"From where the ice first started right at the summit to where it cleared up at Brenda Mines took about two hours to get through," he said. "Had to crawl down the hill at 5 km/h the entire way"

He said he hopes to never have to experience conditions like that again.

The highway was closed in the westbound lanes for several hours overnight due to a serious vehicle crash, and multiple ambulances attended the area. Many people were stuck on the mountain highway for several hours as a result.

Friday morning, conditions appear to have improved somewhat, with motorists reporting compact snow and slippery sections on the highway. Vehicles travelling on Interior highways are required to have winter tires until April 30.

ORIGINAL: 7 a.m.

Multiple crashes on the Okanagan Connector led to the highway's closure overnight, as winter conditions returned in a big way at higher elevations.

Drivers on the Connector said there were extremely icy conditions beginning Thursday evening, with multiple vehicles ending up off the road. Several ambulances reportedly attended the area.

DriveBC first reported a serious crash near the Pennask Summit just after 10 p.m. that was impacting traffic in both directions, and by 12:30 a.m., westbound traffic was completely closed between Brenda Mine Road and Pennask.

The highway was reportedly reopened just before 2 a.m., but DriveBC warned of “major delays” in the area.

Some drivers reported being stuck on the highway for more than two hours, while others said they were turned around near Merritt and instructed to drive through Kamloops to get to Kelowna.

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