Toronto grapples with messy conditions during season's first big snowfall

Roads and sidewalks are slick Wednesday morning after snow fell through the night. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Roads and sidewalks are slick Wednesday morning after snow fell through the night. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

Greater Toronto Area drivers were advised to slow down Wednesday, while pedestrians and cyclists had not much choice in the matter, amid the the season's first significant snowfall on Wednesday.

Ontario Provincial Police are warning roads will be wet and slippery for most of the day.

"Cleanup is going to be most of the morning," OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said in a video posted on Twitter.

"We got problems, really, all across the region."

He said officers had responded to several collisions, including a three-vehicle crash on Highway 11, north of Newmarket, that sent one person to hospital with serious injuries.

In a separate collision, Schmidt said a tractor trailer travelling northbound on Highway 427 near Highway 401 crashed into the concrete wall that divides the highway, causing a lot of damage and blocking several lanes on both sides of the highway.

Pedestrians and road users advised to be cautious 

Schmidt said drivers should do the following before driving:

  • Brush the snow off their vehicles

  • Make sure their full lighting system is on

When they are behind the wheel he urged them to maintain safe distances from other cars.

In Toronto, the dump of snow comes as contractors — newly hired by the city last December — are still in the process of delivering snow-clearing equipment.

"Contractors have been delivering the salting equipment to the yards and continue to bring in their equipment as per the agreement," the city told CBC Toronto on Tuesday afternoon.

John Rieti/CBC
John Rieti/CBC

Environment Canada said two more centimetres of snow were expected in the Greater Toronto Area throughout the morning.

Ontario hit with over five centimetres of snow

About five to 10 centimetres of snow has covered much of southern and eastern Ontario since Tuesday morning. The affected area stretches from Waterloo Region east to Cornwall and as far north as Barrie and Peterborough.

City of Toronto spokesperson Brad Ross said in mid-September that salting equipment was supposed to be in place by Nov. 8. The city is set to hold an update on its winter maintenance plans on Thursday.

Vincent Sferrazza, director of transportation operations and maintenance at the city, said that trucks began laying liquid brine on critical areas like expressways, bridges and high-priority intersections, as early as Monday night.

About 500 pieces of equipment, or about a third of the city's total contracted fleet, have been sent out to begin plowing and salting roads, bike lanes and sidewalks, he added.

Sferrazza said that the new contracts the city signed will usher in some changes when it comes to snow-clearing operations this winter. In particular, there will be emphasis on plowing local roads sooner than in previous years.