Poor weather, road conditions stall traffic in Cobequid Pass

Bad weather and road conditions forced the closure of the Cobequid Pass between the toll section and Masstown, N.S., for a few cold, snowy hours Friday evening. 

"Poor road conditions caused by tonight's weather have resulted in transport trucks becoming stuck on the Cobequid Pass," said Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal spokeswoman Marla MacInnis via email around 11:30 p.m. 

"Traffic queues are over a kilometre long both east and west bound."

The closure was announced by the 511 Nova Scotia Twitter account at 8:22 p.m. Friday. The posts indicated that trucks were stuck on the hill near the Wentworth-Collingwood exit, blocking both lanes.

MacInnis said there was a "light amount of snow" on the ground in the Pass that was creating slippery conditions.

Initial posts on social media indicated some vehicles were being turned around at medians. Later in the evening, the department tweeted that traffic was being diverted at exit 7, Thomson Station, and exit 11, Glenholme.

After hours with no movement, MacInnis said the situation was improving, but urged motorists to avoid the Pass.

"Our maintenance staff are onsite and focused on getting salt/plow trucks through the lines of vehicles and to the front of traffic to help get motorists moving as soon as possible," she wrote. "Traffic is now moving slowly in both directions."

Al Varney/Facebook

Al Varney was on his way from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia when he got caught in the blockage. By 10:30 p.m., he'd been stuck for three hours.

"There are transports and cars for miles," he wrote in a Facebook message to CBC News.

Located in a high-elevation area in northern Nova Scotia, the pass is well-known for experiencing weather that can be significantly worse than nearby communities.

The Cobequid Pass also has a history of motorists getting stranded, the worst occurring on Nov. 19, 2008. As many as 1,500 vehicles were trapped overnight when a sudden storm made the section of the Trans-Canada Highway from the toll booths to Glenholme impassable.

Some stranded travellers spent as many 16 hours stuck in their vehicles.