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Highway 401 near Kingston reopened after pileup crash

Blowing snow and slick roads combined to create difficult New Year's Day driving conditions in eastern Ontario, with a multi-vehicle pileup closing a section of the eastbound Hwy. 401 near Kingston for more than four hours.

OPP have not confirmed the number of vehicles involved

A CBC News assignment editor based in Ottawa snapped this photo from the passenger seat of her car heading westbound past the scene of the pileup. (Kim Drummond/CBC)

Blowing snow and slick roads combined to create difficult New Year's Day driving conditions in eastern Ontario, with a multi-vehicle pileup closing a section of the eastbound Hwy. 401 near Kingston for more than four hours. 

Chris Vilela, a traffic watcher who compiles reports on road conditions in the Kingston area and shares them via social media, said weather and road conditions worsened in the region throughout the day. 

While OPP have not confirmed the number of vehicles involved in the pileup crash, people caught in the back-up were speculating that up to 75 cars were a part of the collision. The clean up caused hours-long delays in the eastbound lanes. (Kim Drummond/CBC)
"The roads are absolutely terrible," he told CBC News. "The conditions are perfect for black ice."

The OPP tweeted black ice warnings to drivers and asked motorists to slow down in the wintry conditions. 

Vilela said blowing snow in the area around Napanee and Brockville was causing major problems on the roads, with more than 15 centimetres on the ground in some places. 

One pileup forced the Ontario Provincial Police to close a section of Hwy. 401 eastbound from Odessa, which is 60 kilometres east of Belleville, to near Kingston around 10 a.m. The lanes were closed for nearly five hours as tow trucks cleared damaged vehicles. The highway has since fully reopened. 

Blowing snow and icy roads are creating adverse New Year's Day driving conditions in eastern Ontario. (Ontario Provincial Police)
​Vilela said he's seen reports that the crash involved dozens of cars and pickup trucks, though the OPP would not estimate the number of vehicles involved.

Environment Canada issued a public weather warning for snow squalls in Kingston, Prince Edward County and Brockville. Between five and 10 additional centimetres are expected in the region by tonight. 

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