Traffic was at a standstill on Highway 97 south of Vernon Wednesday morning before it was closed due to a vehicle incident. (Gary Marchand photo)

UPDATE: Vernon motorists asked to avoid travel: RCMP

As temperatures drop, melt will freeze, turning roads into icerinks

A multitude of single and multi-vehicle collisions led police to close a section of Highway 97 south of Vernon Wednesday morning.

On route to a three-vehicle collision in the northbound lane of Highway 97 near the intersection of Bailey Road Jan. 12 at approximately 8 a.m., police received additional reports of collisions occurring in the same area.

In a short period of time, more than 10 vehicles were involved in either single- or multi-vehicle collisions along an approximately one-kilometre long stretch of Highway 97. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured and only minor injuries were reported to police in all of the incidents.

The northbound lane of Highway 97 was closed completely to traffic for approximately two hours and southbound traffic was limited to one lane to allow police and other emergency responders to safely complete their work.

As of noon, police responded to a total of nine motor vehicle collisions in the North Okanagan with no serious injuries being reported.

“As temperatures drop this evening, the slush and water that has accumulated on roadways is going to freeze causing ice to form on roadways,” Vernon North Okanagan RCMP media relations officer Const. Chris Terleski. “We are asking motorists to avoid travel in the area if possible. If you do need to travel, please use caution as sudden changes in weather can cause road conditions to deteriorate. Reduce your speed, leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the next, and adjust your driving to the conditions.”

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UPDATE 10:30 a.m.:

Traffic is now moving on Highway 97 south of Vernon.

DriveBC reopened the highway two hours following a closure due to a vehicle incident between Bernie Road and Kalamalka Lakeview Drive.

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ORIGINAL 8:30 a.m.:

Several crashes have stalled traffic throughout the North Okanagan.

Highway 97 south of Vernon is closed, as of 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, due to a vehicle incident between Kalamalka Lakeview Drive and Bernie Road. A detour is in effect via Kalamalka Lakeview Drive.

There are reports of crashes, stalls and slippery sections on city and rural roads, as well as Highway 6 and Highway 97A.

“Recent snowfall and freezing rain has led to icy and slippery roads throughout the North Okanagan,” Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said.

“Speed limits are meant for ideal conditions so please slow down, use caution and give yourself additional time to make it safely to your destination this morning.”

Rain falling across the North Okanagan is causing slippery driving conditions this morning, as it falls on frozen roads and snow.

Drivers and pedestrians are urged to use extreme caution as they travel in and around Vernon today, where roads may appear to be wet, but may actually be icy due to changing weather conditions.

“Please slow down, give yourself extra space with other vehicles, watch carefully for other travellers, and give yourself extra time to reach your destination,” the city of Vernon said.

A fleet of city crews are out sanding and salting roads across Vernon; however, the slippery conditions are reported to be across the whole city and region.

Environment Canada is reporting this morning that the temperature is hovering around zero and we should expect periods of wet snow mixed with rain to continue throughout the day.

This is the second time in less than a week that Highway 97 south of Vernon has been closed.

RCMP closed the highway Friday due to “incredibly poor road conditions.”

READ MORE: Numerous Highway 97 crashes between Vernon, Lake Country prompt safety calls

READ MORE: Highway 97 south of Vernon reopened


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Transportation