Icy conditions lead to spate of crashes on Winnipeg bridges

Police have taken the unusual step of warning drivers to steer clear of bridges across Winnipeg, as icy conditions lead to spate of crashes.

Some bridges are slowly starting to reopen, sanding trucks have been sent out

Police have taken the unusual step of warning drivers to steer clear of bridges across Winnipeg as icy conditions lead to a spate of crashes.

"Please avoid all bridges in Winnipeg as weather conditions have created hazardous ice conditions and we are experiencing numerous motor vehicle accidents," police said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

The Perimeter Highway has been closed westbound between St. Mary's Road and Pembina Highway because of a motor vehicle collision, officials said. 

Winnipeg's Traffic Management Centre also reported crashes on the St. James Bridge, and on the Chief Peguis Bridge eastbound.

A CBC videographer saw two fire trucks that had collided on the Harry Lazarenko Bridge, formerly known as the Redwood Bridge.

Police told CBC News there were crashes on every bridge in the city as temperatures hovered around the freezing mark leaving the structures slick with ice after a day that saw both rain and snow blanket the city.

Twitter user @sweetmariecc snapped this photo of a vehicle on the Concordia Avenue overpass at Lagimodiere Boulevard. (Twitter/sweetmariecc)

Some of the closed bridges were slowly starting to reopen around 9 p.m. CT, and City of Winnipeg sanding trucks were sent out. Officials said it will take time to reach all of the affected bridges.

Winnipegger Scott Jones drove to the Chief Peguis Bridge, walking onto the bridge to pick up his two small children who were stuck in a car with his wife, stranded in backed-up traffic.

"The kids weren't lasting so well in the car — they were getting pretty anxious to get out of there," he said. "I came to get them and I guess she'll come home as soon as she can make her way across the bridge.

"It's like this every winter … people just gotta slow down and take it easy."

Kathy Kuzak was left sitting on the Chief Peguis Bridge for more than an hour-and-a-half while crews cleaned up the crash on the bridge. She wasn't surprised to hear how many other bridges were closed due to crashes at the same time.

"You never know what's going to happen with the bridges when we hit that zero degree mark," she said, laughing when asked what she thought the city could do to avoid the situation. "Not live in Winnipeg?"

Winnipeg police couldn't say how many vehicles were involved in any specific crash, but did say they have not responded to any reports of serious injuries. 

Police say sanding trucks will be out across the city doing multiple passes throughout the night. 

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