Friday, October 12, 2012

A Little Snow and An Epic Traffic Jam

It looked like a pretty innocent dusting of snow this morning but it was anything but as the morning ride to work took a tad longer than expected.  What is normally a 45 minute ride from my bus stop to where I get off at Suncor turned into a 4 hour morning odyssey.  The culprit turned out to be a couple of spun out dump trucks at the bottom of Super Test Hill.  I saw one stalled out  along the shoulder and the other jackknifed in the ditch several feet off the road.  All this meant that traffic was backed up from the bottom of the hill and all the way back into the city about 30km to the south.   Apparently  from what I overheard, traffic was backed up over the bridges as well, extending all the way down to Gregoire, which for those not familiar with the lay out of Fort McMurray, is the industrial area south of town and the first part of the city you enter as you come on Highway 63.

The highway can be trying under normal circumstances and I've been stuck on it a few times but this was rather something.  One of the two trucks contracted to sand the road apparently had mechanical difficulties.  So after a night of flurries and light snow, the area around Super Test wasn't attended to with the resulting traffic chaos.  I counted a number of vehicles in the ditch, everything from pick ups to cars to everything else.  Even a bus slid across lanes north of Suncor around the Bridge to Nowhere.

I sat a couple seats behind the driver so between bouts of sleep I was able to pick up a bit of radio chatter.  The line of the morning came from one anonymous driver who remarked, "A billion dollars worth of overpasses is all for nothing if they can't manage to deal with one hill." (I had actually planned to do a traffic-related post earlier this week as it turns out as I learned that the long-awaited Timberlea overpass is tentatively schedule to open October 16.)

Four hours to travel roughly 30km.  You can drive all the way to Edmonton in a little over 5.  On a brighter note, I did get some extra sleep and I was still paid for the full day.

                                         (Super Test, Feb. 2010.)

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