Nova Scotia

Towering snowdrifts shut down Cape Breton's North Mountain road again

Cars and trucks cannot get from one side of the Cape Breton Highlands to the other because the road is closed between Pleasant Bay and Big Intervale.

Since November, the road has been closed 17 days, compared to 11 days for the entire winter last year

The snowdrifts on the North Mountain road were estimated to be as high as 3.6 metres in some spots in December. (B. MacLean/Facebook)

Snowdrifts have again made North Mountain on the Cabot Trail in northern Cape Breton impassable.

Cars and trucks cannot get from one side of the Cape Breton Highlands to the other because the road is closed between Pleasant Bay and Big Intervale.

"It's really an anomalous year," said Rob Howey, resource conservation manager for the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

"I can say, going back through our records, it's way more than we've had in recent memory."

Since November, the road has been closed 17 days, compared to 11 days for the entire winter last year.

"We were hard at work yesterday, overnight and this morning trying to open up the road and of course overnight there was some wind so it's just filled in again," Howey told CBC Radio's Information Morning Cape Breton on Tuesday.

He said it's difficult to measure exactly how much snow there is because of the drifting.

"It's over 12 feet at this point in time," Howey said.

He said the wind gusts create whiteout conditions and it can be unsafe to try to clear the road.

"You're talking about driving a big six-tonne truck through snowdrifts that are as tall as the truck itself sometimes, with little to no visibility," he said.

"It's a really nerve-racking, challenging endeavour to say the least."

Howey said it's too soon to say how this will affect the park's snow-clearing budget.

About the Author

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith has been reporting news in Cape Breton since 1981. You can follow her on Twitter @leblancsmith and reach her at yvonne.leblanc-smith@cbc.ca