News / Halifax

More than 30 collisions reported in Halifax during 'brutal' commute

Many drivers reported two-hour long commutes into Halifax. Metro got some reaction from people who were in the thick of it.

Traffic wasn't moving very fast on the Bedford Highway Tuesday morning.

Phil Croucher/Metro Halifax

Traffic wasn't moving very fast on the Bedford Highway Tuesday morning.

Tuesday’s commuter chaos caused by slippery, snow-covered roads during the morning rush hour had people talking.

Some Halifax Transit routes were operating on snow plans, with many running late. School buses were also behind schedule.

Traffic mid-morning was still crawling on some HRM roadways, with many drivers reporting two-hour commutes. Metro Halifax gathered comment from a few folks who were in the thick of it.

Ken Wilson, president of the union representing Halifax Transit operators:

“It was quite an interesting morning. The majority of the fleet was late throughout the AM rush hour due to the road conditions. We’re not much different than the average vehicle out there. Once we get stuck in traffic, we’re to the mercy of that,” he told Metro Halifax on Tuesday afternoon.

“I believe around 10:30 (Tuesday) morning we still had some buses that were as much as two hours late. We’ve always supported the need for snow tires on our buses…That would definitely help. But at the same time this is a peninsular city where everything runs up from the water, so at some point you’re dealing with hills and with Mother Nature not being favourable, you’re also dealing with that too.”

Councillor Tim Outhit:

“It was the timing of the storm. You had accidents, you had traffic light failure at the Windsor Street interchange and in Bedford, you had a breakdown of an 18-wheeler, and so even with bus lanes and commuter rail, today still would’ve been bad,” said Outhit, a long-time, vocal supporter of commuter rail.

“Would it have been as bad? No, maybe not. But for me to say if we had commuter rail there wouldn’t have been a problem, of course there would have been. It was almost a perfect storm. There were a whole lot of issues happening simultaneously. Neither bus snow tires nor commuter rail would have prevented it all.”

Police:

RCMP Cpl. Dal Hutchison described Tuesday morning’s commute as “brutal” and reminded people to reduce speed for conditions and take time to properly clear off vehicles.

He said Halifax District RCMP responded on Tuesday to more than 12 collisions between 6 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. There only minor injuries in two of those incidents.

Cst. Carol McIsaac said in parts of HRM patrolled by Halifax Regional Police, there were 19 collisions up to 3:30 p.m., with no injuries reported.

Councillor Lisa Blackburn:

“Folks out our way are pretty much accustomed about what to expect. They’re not expecting a plow to show up at the first flake that falls, and so I think we tend to be a little bit more easygoing out our way. But it can definitely be difficult to get to the peninsula, and you throw a little bit of snow into the mix and your typical 30 minute commute can very easily turn into an hour and 30 minutes,” she said.

“How do we alleviate getting people to and from the downtown core? Improved transit service. Fortunately that is coming. There is going to be an express bus in the next phase of the Moving Forward Together Plan and it’ll be the bus 189 that will do during the peak in the morning and afternoon direct from Beaver Bank Road to downtown. I’m thinking that’s going to be a game changer.”

Reader comments from the Metro Halifax Facebook page:

Belinda Ann: "Over 2 hours from Bedford to downtown this morning, crazy! but there were some idiots passing on the inside and outside of lanes, it is idiots like this that end up causing accidents, no patience whatsoever"

Billy Nik: "I found it a bit odd that main roads still didn't appear to be cleared by noon. Maybe the expectation was that the rain would wash away the snow, but that didn't really happen. The roads were just left in a slushy, sleety mess for hours. There wasn't much snow, but there was virtually no clearing happening either."

Jim Petrie: "Would you agree with me that, in Halifax, were having a mild winter so far? Some strategically placed salt in Strategic locations at certain times prior to snowfall would be of great benefit to drivers commuting to work between 5-9am as well. Is it too much to ask for an over taxed populate? Is it?"

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