A large collision involving over a dozen vehicles has caused a closure of Highway 401 westbound in Napanee.
The collision occurred at approximately 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 near Beechwood Road, just west of Highway 41.
According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), “officers reported that there were several tractor trailers involved, along with a dump truck and cars as a rapidly moving weather front brought heavy snow to the Napanee area.” Napanee Fire, along with Lennox and Addington County Paramedics established a triage command post and extricated a number of patients to hospital with undisclosed injuries.
A bus was sent to the scene to provide shelter for those involved at approximately 1:15 p.m. Upon arrival of the bus, any patients needing medical attention were transported from the highway. The Strathcona Paper Centre acted as a warming centre for the drivers and passengers were removed from the highway by bus and into Napanee.
All westbound lanes of Highway 401 were closed following the collision, causing backups on the highway. Traffic was detoured at Highway 41, and Highway 401 was closed for about four hours.
In addition to the large collision, there were many smaller collisions due to the whiteout conditions, which kept the OPP and rescue crews busy throughout the day.
“The OPP would like to thank the public for their patience as a backlog of traffic was cleared after a lane was opened up,” the OPP said in a press release at about 4 p.m. the same day.
“There are still vehicles in the ditches along highway 401 westbound near mile marker 570. These will be removed later today when weather and road conditions improve.”