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Canada's busiest highway reopens after massive pileup

The scene of a multi-vehicle crash that closed the westbound lanes of Highway 401 at Newtonville Road between Port Hope and Clarington in Newcastle, Ont., on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013.

MATT WALTON/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Highway 401 has reopened after being closed in both directions for several hours after a massive pileup east of Toronto.

Ontario Provincial Police said snow was falling, the road was slick and visibility reduced when about 70 vehicles collided Friday about 80 kilometres east of Toronto near Newcastle.

It happened around 3 p.m. and littered a one kilometre stretch of Canada's busiest highway with mangled metal.

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Five people were transported to local hospitals, two in serious condition.

One was later flown to Toronto`s Sunnybrook hospital, but OPP spokeswoman Constable Linda Wolf said none of the injuries was life-threatening.

The chain reaction wreck shutdown a 10 kilometre stretch of the highway`s east-bound lanes until nearly 10:30 p.m., and the west-bound lanes until shortly before midnight.

Dozens of people were left stranded in the cold for hours.

Const. Wolf said buses were enlisted to take people from the crash site to a recreation centre in Newcastle where they were interviewed by police before being returned to their vehicles.

Due to the number of vehicles involved, Const. Wolf said the investigation into the crash is likely to take several days.

And while weather conditions are certainly being looked at as a possible factor, Const. Wolf says the crash clearly demonstrates the need for motorists to slow down and take extra care in dodgy driving conditions.

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