Stretch of Highway 400 closed in both directions after 15 vehicles involved in crash

Ontario Provincial Police say they have closed a stretch of Highway 400 in both directions due to whiteout conditions that led to a crash involving 15 vehicles on Monday afternoon.

Highway 400 remains closed between Highway 89 outside of Cookstown, Ont., and Mapleview Drive in Barrie, Ont.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the highway safety division of the Ontario Provincial Police, said police and paramedics are on the scene but there are no reports of serious injuries. The crash happened in the highway’s southbound lanes.

Police are allowing vehicles stuck behind the collision to drive off the highway now, but police said they will not reopen the highway until conditions improve and they are confident that another major crash won’t happen.

Police and tow trucks have removed vehicles involved in the collision from the highway, he said. 

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

“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 is zero visibility in places and the weather is still unpredictable.

People stuck on Highway 400 should stay in their vehicles because they become pedestrians on the highway if they step outside, police say. (Ontario Provincial Police)

Police are urging motorists to avoid the area. Schmidt said vehicles will be forced off the highway before the closure.

Local fire departments are helping to direct traffic, he added.

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

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