Eastern Ontario digs out after winter storm hits area; Hwy. 401 closed for several hours

The westbound lanes of Highway 401 were closed near Highway 416 Wednesday morning as crews cleaned up a collision involving a transport truck. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

A major winter storm that swept through the northeast U.S. and parts of Canada spared most eastern Ontario Wednesday morning, but it still created traffic chaos along the Hwy. 401 corridor from Prescott to the Quebec border.

A section of Hwy. 401 was closed for several hours after at least two transports collided near the Hwy. 416 interchange.

On the eastbound lanes, a tractor-trailer jackknifed just before the Edward Street Bridge in Prescott, blocking the left lane.  Between Cardinal and Iroquois, another transport was in deep snow in the centre median, with crews still working on getting the truck unstuck after 1 p.m.

The OPP confirmed there were no injuries in either collision.

Snowfall totals varied along the seaway, with up to 20 centimetres recorded in some spots. A volunteer weather observer in Cornwall reported over 30 centimetres of snow.

Busses were also cancelled in the area, giving many children a snow day.

In Iroquois, residents were finishing digging out their driveways as the afternoon sun popped through the clouds.

"it’s great! It’s good exercise," said Jean Cummins shovelling her driveway.

"Our neighbour Ed came over and did the end of the driveway and my husband and I did the rest," Cummins said. "I’m just out here cleaning up the last little bit."

Cummins said she enjoys the winter months, and has seen worse storms.

"I’ve lived in worse places than this....northern Alberta and Saskatoon and northern Ontario, so this is nothing!”

A few houses down, Mo Racine and his wife were shovelling and clearing the driveway, with drifts almost as high as the snow blower.

"It was a good one," Racine said with a laugh.  “I was doing four neighbors, so it’s good exercise.”

He does not travel for the winter and enjoys a good dumping of the white stuff.

"We stay here and play in the snow. I really like it, yeah," Racine added.

Just north of town, Eva and Griffin Merkley were enjoying the day off from school playing in the snowbanks.

"We’re building an igloo," Eva said, also towing her younger brother on a toboggan.

Temperatures will be milder over the next couple of days with snow expected once again along the seaway on Friday.