Transport collision, fire closes Highway 401

A transport collision and fire closed Highway 401 for most of the day on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022. Photo via OPP.

A fiery crash on Highway 401 west of Greater Napanee closed the eastbound lanes of the highway for most of the day on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, causing widespread and long delays throughout the area.

In the early Friday morning hours, OPP say that a transport truck struck a stationary vehicle, a crash truck that had been set up to alert drivers about upcoming line painting, in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 and quickly became engulfed in flames.

According to Ontario Provincial Police Media Relations Officer Sgt. Erin Cranton, three people suffered minor injuries as a result of the crash and were treated at the scene, but were not transported to hospital.

The heavy smoke and fire briefly closed both directions of the highway, but OPP officers were able to open the westbound lanes of the highway by 3:45 a.m.

By about 11 a.m., all wreckage had been removed from the road, but Highway 401 remained closed for most of the day due to the heavy damage caused to the roadway by the fire and diesel spill.

The highway closure caused severe delays for eastbound drivers, with some travellers estimating that it took approximately five hours to travel from Belleville to Napanee, which is usually a half- to one hour drive.

Some drivers took to going in the wrong direction on the 401 this afternoon trying to avoid the prolonged closure caused by the transport collision.

According to Lennox & Addington OPP Constable Scott Woodburn, a large number of those drivers were intercepted by OPP and turned around to rejoin the line-up, ending up much further back than where they started.

The roadway was repaired and the Ministry of Transportation reopened the roadway shortly after 8 p.m.

The investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing at this time and OPP are uncertain if charges will be laid.

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