Highways reopen across southern Alberta after storm hammers region

Some motorists were stranded in their vehicles overnight on the Trans-Canada Highway. Canmore opened a warming centre for those who were rescued from their vehicles.

Residents digging out from a fall storm that closed highways and stranded motorists

Traffic starts to move eastbound on the Trans-Canada Highway late Wednesday morning. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The Trans-Canada Highway about 20 kilometres east of Canmore reopened late Wednesday morning after the area was hammered by a storm on Tuesday.

Alberta 511 was warning of delays around noon Wednesday due to the volume of traffic trying to get through the newly opened route. 

Truckers, stuck overnight on the highway, were frustrated with the delay and eager to get back on the road. 

"We are paid by the mile. If we don't move, we don't get paid," said Radek Honjo, who was driving his semi from Vancouver. 

Westbound lanes in the same area, by Lac Des Arcs, opened at 6:20 a.m.

Earlier, some vehicles ended up ditches and had to be pulled out by tow trucks.

Some drivers were stuck on the highway for up to 13 hours. 

Police escorted stranded motorists to the warming centre set up at a Canmore high school.

The scene on Highway 1A eastbound near the Morley turnoff on Wednesday morning. (Michaela Michalova)

Highway 1A from Highway 1X to Highway 133X was closed on Wednesday morning due to what Alberta 511 said was multiple jackknifed semis. That stretch reopened around 12:30 p.m.

QEII Highway

Part of the main highway between Calgary and Edmonton was also closed overnight due to a multi-vehicle crash involving more than 20 vehicles.

Didsbury RCMP said it was a fatal collision.

The Olds Fire Department said Highway 2 needed to be closed in both directions near Carstairs, about 50 kilometres north of Calgary.

The crash happened shortly after 8 p.m.Tuesday and the road didn't open again until 5 a.m.

Drivers were encouraged to stay off the highways in southern Alberta as crews worked to clear ice and snow. 

Snowfall warnings have now ended in the province.

RCMP said they responded to approximately 83 collisions in southern Alberta between 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In a news release, the force said it issued multiple warnings for drivers not to venture onto highways. 

With files from The Canadian Press.