CALGARY -- One westbound land is open following a Monday of misery in southeast Alberta, where whiteout conditions, high winds and ice-encrusted roads combined to trigger a pileup of as many as 70 vehicles on the TransCanada Highway just east of Brooks Monday morning.

Brooks RCMP issued an update around 5:15 p.m. that one westbound lane had reopened, with a second lane expected to be reopened shortly after 5:30 p.m.

RCMP said the crash started around 7 a.m involving many tractor trailers, mixed with small cars and trucks.

Despite the scale of the carnage and mix of vehicles, there were no fatalities reported. According to an EMS spokesperson, seven were transported to hospital, two with serious injuries, but all were expected to survive.

Veteran truck driver Peter Loewen was hit three times Monday morning, largely escaping injury, but said it was close.

"It was really scary," Loewen said. "I was just going to walk around and see what happened to my trailer, then all of a sudden I got hit again and I got hit a little bit by the steering wheel on my ribs."

"So I though I better stay in the truck, it's safer than going out and looking what happened," Loewen said.


The massive pileup closed the highway's westbound lanes for most of the day as tow crews battled brutal conditions to pick apart the wreckage.

Further west between Brooks and Strathmore many more vehicles littered the ditches, some simply stuck, others rolled on their sides or jack-knifed. EMS reports two others were transported to hospital from those crashes.

Road conditions were patchy, going from bare and dry to ice-covered with near zero visibility several times along the route between Calgary and Brooks.

A reception centre has been opened at the Heritage Inn at 1217 Second Street West in the city of Brooks to accommodate stranded travellers.