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Hwy. 400 reopens following massive pileup near Barrie, Ont.

Tuesday, February 26th 2019, 9:02 am - Crash involved cars, pickup trucks, limousines, SUVS, tractor-trailers and a fuel tanker.

Highway 400 reopened following a pileup in near-whiteout conditions involving dozens of vehicles near Barrie, Ont., on Monday, according to Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the OPP's highway safety division.

The major highway north of Toronto was closed in both directions between Mapleview Drive and Highway 89 for plowing and road repairs, according to a tweet from Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the OPP's highway safety division, after the vehicles had been removed from the area.

Twelve people were assessed at the scene and taken to hospital, Joe Chawla, communications adviser for York Region, told CBC Toronto.

Schmidt said all of the injuries are believed to be minor in nature. Emergency crews were called to the scene on Highway 400 south of Mapleview Drive just before 10:30 a.m. on Monday.


The crash involved cars, pickup trucks, limousines, SUVS, tractor-trailers and a fuel tanker, Schmidt said. The passenger and commercial vehicles were all "jammed up" together amid blowing snow and gusty winds, he added. Motorists are being urged to avoid the area.

"This is going to be a bit of a mess getting this cleaned up," Schmidt said in a tweet.

Some motorists wound up crashing into ditches. Other vehicles were not damaged but were trapped in the pileup.

Schmidt said police had difficulty getting to the scene.

"This is less than ideal conditions and we are doing the best that we can," he said. "It's certainly a challenging situation."


The fire department also said some 500 litres of diesel spilled onto the highway from a tractor-trailer, although road crews now have the leak under control.

Several heavy duty and light duty tow trucks were on the scene shortly after the collision occurred. Debris was strewn across the highway.

Schmidt said emergency crews are working in wintry conditions.

"This is the situation we are dealing with — lots of wind, gusty winds, whiteout conditions, snow, blowing snow," Schmidt said.

Both directions of Highway 400 have been shut down in the area highlighted in red following a pileup on Monday. The OPP has actually extended the closure further south to Highway 89. (CBC)

South Simcoe police said in a tweet there was zero visibility in the area. The OPP recommends motorists stay off the roads in Simcoe County.

Two Barrie Transit buses were at the scene to provide shelter and warmth to people left stranded.

According to Environment Canada, a blizzard warning remains in effect for the Barrie area.

Snow squalls, combined with strong northwest winds gusting to 70 km/h, continue to produce dangerous whiteout conditions, the weather agency said.

"Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve," Environment Canada said.

York Region Paramedic Services sent three ambulances, a multi-patient emergency response unit and a special response unit to the scene, according to Chawla.

"Most of the injuries reported have been minor in nature," Samantha Hoffmann, public information officer for Barrie Fire and Emergency Service, told CBC Toronto.

Injured people were taken to Barrie's Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, while vehicles were towed to Georgian Downs, a nearby horse racetrack and entertainment facility.

This article was written by the CBC.


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