Canada
Ottawans face slow, dangerous commute

An OC Transpo articulated bus sits stuck in snow on Prince pf Wales Drive diring a storm in Ottawa on Wednesday February 27,2013

Credits: Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency

DAVID WILCOX | OTTAWA SUN

Commuters across Ottawa and Eastern Ontario are facing a slow trip to work or school this morning.

And it's still snowing -- another couple of centimetres today on top of the 15 cm of very heavy, wet snow on Wednesday. In addition to the snow, Environment Canada says we were also the recipient of enough ice and rain to make it more like a 25 cm dumping.

Winds could gust up to 30 km/h through the morning and afternoon.

Major roads are in fair shape, though there are areas where the pavement is snow-covered, centre bare or covered partially in a hard-packed layer of ice/snow. Heavily travelled roads in Ottawa have all been plowed but again, there is heavy slush, pooling of water and areas of hard-packed snow.

Collector routes in Ottawa have been cleared but road conditions vary widely. Many side streets have not been plowed.

School buses are operating in the city according to the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority but again, there will be delays. As of 7:30 a.m, the OSTA was already reporting more than 40 delays but no cancellations.

Outside the city, Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario says all its buses are also running, serving Renfrew, Lanark, Russell-Prescott, Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry and other outlying areas.

"However, some side roads and rural routes have not been plowed. Bus operators have instructed drivers to not go down roads they deem to be unsafe," says a message on the STEO website.

OC Transpo, which experienced massive delays and problems with buses getting stranded or stuck in the deep snow, is warning commuters to expect delays. By late Wednesday afternoon, according to Transpo GM John Manconi, more than 70 buses either got stuck or were involved in minor crashes.

One issue many riders will face this morning is bus stops which are not plowed, meaning they'll have to climb over large snowbanks to board their bus -- when it arrives.

Delays Wednesday ranged 20 to 40 minutes and some buses were held up even longer. Five buses were stuck at one point on Bank St. near the bridge over the Rideau River. Buses couldn't make it up the hill because of snowy roads.

Manconi reported "repeat trouble spots" on the Airport Pkwy. at the airport, Carling and Grenon avenues, Bank St. and Sunnyside Ave., Albert and Booth streets and Data Centre Rd.

One of the best ways to keep track of what's happening on Transpo routes is by following @OCTranspoLive on Twitter or go to http://www.octranspo1.com/updates/

On the hydro front, Ottawa Hydro was not reporting any outages as of 7:30 a.m. Outside the city, the Hydro One "Stormcenter" shows a long list of outages affecting several thousand customers stretching across Eastern Ontario. Among the hardest hit areas are Casselman in the east, Barrys Bay and several pockets around Perth.

All the outages were expected to be repaired by mid-afternoon.

Finally, the Ottawa International Airport continues to experience flight delays and cancellations across a wide area of destinations. That means passengers should check ahead on the airport's website for arrivals and departures information.

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