ST. JOHN’S Nfld. — A spring blizzard coupled with the largest public-workers strike in the province’s history has resulted in truck drivers getting stranded in Newfoundland.
The snowstorm shut down transportation on the east coast, Burin and Bonavista peninsulas and stranded overnight an ambulance patient and more than 80 people aboard tractor-trailers, a bus and other vehicles.
Because snowplow operators in the province are on strike, the Trans-Canada Highway was impassable and most provincial routes on the east coast were also closed.
The RCMP continues to tell motorists and truck drivers to stay off roads until the weather clears.
The provincial government threatened to hire private snow-clearing crews to help deal with the emergency.
Under the essential services agreement with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, the Department of Works, Services and Transportation had just one employee operating equipment at each of the department’s 44 depots.
The union responded to a request for help from Works Services and Transportation Minister Percy Barrett and released 17 additional snowplough operators to help clear the Rock’s roads.
As much as 30 cm of snow has fallen during the storm. Newfoundland has received a near record-braking amount of snow this winter.
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