Whiteout conditions close Heart’s Content Barrens
Travelling north on Route 70 on the morning of Jan. 8, the roads appeared clear, with little snow.
It would come as a surprise to some, who continued their journey down Route 74, that the Heart’s Content Barrens were completely the opposite.
Only a few kilometres past Victoria, the winds were high, blowing snow across the two-lane highway. The roads were a slick layer of ice, covered with snow. Lines painted on the roads were not visible in most places, and drivers had difficulty seeing if there were vehicles coming towards, or behind them.
This is what The Compass experienced after the highway between Victoria and Heart’s Content was closed last week by the Department of Transportation and Works because it was considered impassible.
Although a warning was issued and reported by news media in the province, not to mention on social media by those who were rerouted north, after heading south from Heart’s Content, vehicles sti l l pushed through the whiteout conditions and took a chance on the barrens.
Cars and trucks alike were travelling as if there were no snow, dis- regarding the warnings. But vehicles were few and far in between.
Winds were rough
If a vehicle were to stop, and the driver attempted to exit, it would be difficult to open the door, as the wind — coming from the west — forced itself against the side, as if it were barricading the door, as witnessed by a Compass reporter who attempted to cross the barrens before 9 a.m. Wednesday. As vehicles drove, they would disappear into the white haze that covered the roads.
A department plow was on the barrens at that time, clearing the northbound lane — the lane where most of the snow had drifted.
A news release issued by the department early that morning referred to the driving conditions as “very dangerous,” with “little to no visibility.”
Route 74 was open to traffic again by the afternoon, when the advisory was lifted.
No report s of ac cidents or injuries were reported to the department during the time the warning was in place.