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Unsafe conditions prompt road closures in New Westminster

Steep hills in New West – including Sixth and Eighth streets below Royal Avenue – have been closed because of snow.
A bus makes its way up one of New Westminster's snowy hills on Wednesday morning.

If you don’t have to drive, don’t.

That’s the message from the City of New Westminster and the New Westminster Police Department as snow continues to fall across the Lower Mainland.

As is the case with most snow events, the city has closed several steep hills in New Westminster: Third Avenue between 11th and 12th streets; Cumberland Street between Richmond and East Columbia streets; and Queens Avenue between 10th and 11th streets.

The New Westminster Police Department also announced that Sixth Street ad Eighth Street have been closed south of Royal Avenue because of unsafe road conditions – and more closures could be coming to local roads.

“Expect these closures to expand quickly as the snowfall progresses,” said a NWPD post on X (formerly Twitter) at 9:14 a.m. “Please stay off the roads if possible.”

In preparation for today’s snowfall – which included a snowfall warning from Environment and Climate Change Canada – the city’s engineering operations crews were out brining and pre-salting roads before the snow began falling late Tuesday night.

Speaking to the Record on Tuesday afternoon, Gabe Beliveau, manager of engineering operations, said the department had a full schedule of crews scheduled for Wednesday (today), when the largest snowfall accumulation was forecast.

The City of New Westminster’s snow response plan maps out primary and secondary routes for snow-clearing activities and timelines for snow removal: Priority 1 – within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall; Priority 2 – within 48 hours after the end of a snowfall; Priority 3 – within 24 hours after Priority 2 routes are complete; and Priority 4 – within 24 hours after Priority 3 route are complete.

Priority 1 is focused on removing snow from the key arterial roads in the city and on roads leading to core services, including hospitals and bridges.

“It doesn’t cover all the transit routes,” Beliveau said. “Coast Mountain (Bus Company) is aware of our mapping system on our priority routes. They have confirmed that they will address our bus routes as best as possible.”

According to the City of New Westminster, all available crews and equipment will be operating 24 hours a day, as needed, until the end of the snow event.

“We ask that you please stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, not only for your safety but also to assist our road-clearing efforts,” said the notice.

TransLink is reporting that service has been impacted across the system, due to snowy conditions in Metro Vancouver.

“Please use caution, give yourselves extra travel time and remember to dress warmly in anticipation of potential delays,” said a notice on TransLink’s website. “We continue to salt and sand bus loops and SkyTrain stations, but please use caution in these areas; there may be extra crowding on some bus routes and SkyTrain platforms.”

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s alerts for: Metro Vancouver including in New Westminster, stated that snowfall accumulation of 10 to 20 centimetres are expected. Snow is forecast to continue falling through the afternoon.