Stretch of Highway 400 reopens after 15-vehicle crash forced closure

A stretch of Highway 400 has been reopened in both directions after it was closed for hours due to whiteout conditions and a crash involving 15 vehicles on Monday afternoon, Ontario Provincial Police say.

Only minor injuries were reported.

Highway 400 was initially closed between Highway 89 outside of Cookstown, Ont., and Mapleview Drive in Barrie, Ont. around 3 p.m. It was reopened at about 9 p.m.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the highway safety division of the Ontario Provincial Police, said police and paramedics were on the scene shortly after the crash, which happened roughly in one area in the highway’s southbound lanes.

After police and tow trucks removed vehicles involved in the crash from the highway, officers allowed vehicles stuck behind the collision to drive off the road. But Schmidt said police did not reopen the highway until they were confident that another major crash wouldn’t happen.

“Everything’s been cleared off,” Schmidt said on Twitter during the closure.

“There’s nothing really left here except for snow that continues to blow across the highway. It is unbelievably blustery here. And you go from great clear conditions to whiteout conditions in a matter of seconds.”

Schmidt said there was zero visibility in places and the weather was unpredictable.

Conditions were treacherous on Highway 400 earlier on Monday. (Ontario Provincial Police)

Police had urged motorists to avoid the area. Local fire departments had helped to direct traffic, Schmidt added.

“Give yourself lots of space. Don’t get caught by surprise,” he had said.

Schmidt thanked motorists stuck behind the collision for their patience.

“This is dangerous. It’s very treacherous and very precarious for anyone to be out on the highway. Right now, stay home, or at least stay off the 400,” he had added.

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