Metro Vancouver snowfall live: Lions Gate Bridge reopens; 50 flights cancelled

A late-season snowstorm on British Columbia’s south coast causes a chaotic morning commute for drivers, flight and ferry cancellations and several school closures.

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Heavy snow closed northbound lanes on the Lions Gate Bridge for a few hours Tuesday morning due to several skidded vehicles. Emergency services were dispatched to the bridge to plow and clear the roadway.

Northbound traffic, which was closed off West Georgia Street and Denman Street, reopened at 11:30 a.m. Only one lane is open in each direction. The countercurrent middle lane remains closed. Motorists should expect delays and traffic jams.

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On the North Shore, heavy snowfall is causing delays and slippery road conditions on Highway 1. The BC Department of Transportation advises people to avoid non-essential highway travel.

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TransLink said the buses are facing severe delays due to the snow and changing road conditions. Several routes in Vancouver have been temporarily suspended while other buses are being rerouted to avoid slippery hills and challenging terrain.

Due to road closures, some bus routes in West Vancouver have no pick-up and drop-off times. All other lines in Metro Vancouver are operating but slower than normal compared to a typical weekday.

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SkyTrain, SeaBus and West Coast Express will operate as usual. HandyDART prioritizes customers with medical appointments.

TransLink advised passengers to dress warmly, allow for extra travel time, and check their specific itinerary before travelling.

In Victoria, many bus routes have been temporarily suspended along with morning classes following overnight snowfall.

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BC Transit has temporarily suspended several routes in Greater Victoria and the Cowichan Valley while HandyDart continues to operate where possible. See for details.

The snow has led to a number of ferry cancellations.

On Tuesday, BC Ferries said it did not have the required number of crew members on the Salish Eagle between Tsawwassen and the southern Gulf Islands due to adverse weather conditions.

Afternoon sailings starting at 3:35pm from Tsawwassen on this route are also cancelled.

BC Ferries says it requires a certain number of crew members on board the ship to ensure the safety of its passengers in the unlikely event of an emergency and to comply with Transport Canada regulations.

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The decision to cancel a cruise in these circumstances will be made when all avenues to find a replacement crew have been exhausted. BC Ferries says if the situation changes, customers will be notified immediately.

About 50 flights were canceled at Vancouver International Airport Tuesday due to snow. Many flights are also delayed.

The airport authority reports wintry weather conditions with more snow than originally forecast.

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Crews are working to clear runways and taxiways, but poor visibility and snow accumulation are still causing delays for travelers.

“We remain at a reduced operating capacity and we continue to see delays as snow accumulation on aircraft has caused queues at our de-icing facility,” an update said at 10:30 a.m.

Passengers are advised to check for the latest flight information.

Environment and Climate Change Canada this morning issued a snowfall warning for Metro Vancouver, Victoria, East Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Southern Gulf Islands, with two to four inches of snow expected throughout the day. The snow is expected to ease in the afternoon.

The Federal Weather Service warns that this will significantly affect the morning commute due to snow falling quickly and slippery road conditions.

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The snowfall warning has now been lifted for the region.

The recent snowstorm means some kids are having a snowy day.

North Shore schools are closed. SFU’s Burnaby campus on Burnaby Mountain is also closed until 12pm today, while the Surrey and Vancouver campuses are expected to open at 10am. However, UBC said it will remain open, as will Langara, Kwantlen, Douglas College and BCIT.
Camosun College is closed until noon, as are schools in the Sooke and Saanich school districts. However, the Greater Victoria School District says all schools are open today.

There’s more to come…

– with files from The Victoria Times Colonist

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