55 citations issued to drivers entering closed roads as part of I-94 remains closed and I-29 now open
FARGO — I-94 is now open eastbound from Bismarck to Jamestown and is open westbound from Valley City to Bismarck.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) along with the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP)have also lifted all the No Travel advisories still in affect.
I-94 eastbound lanes from Jamestown to Fargo and I-94 westbound from Fargo to Valley City remain closed.
I-29 is now open from the South Dakota border to Canada, and the No Travel advisory has been lifted in southeastern and northeastern North Dakota, including the cities of Cooperstown, Michigan, Grand Forks, Fargo, Wahpeton, and surrounding areas.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) along with the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) still warn motorists to drive according to conditions because icy conditions are still present on the roadway.
Niewind said highway patrol officers have issued 55 citations since Sunday morning to drivers who have knowingly entered closed roads. There is a $250 fine for driving around a road closure sign and a $20 fine for entering a closed road where no sign is present, Niewind said.
I-94 between Mapleton and Casselton. The road is blocked. The truck pictured went around the gates last night, became stuck in this drift and was pulled out by @NDDOTFargo #NDHP has cited 10 drivers attempting to go west on 94 since 6am. Stay off the roads!!! pic.twitter.com/GE6TrHkpD2— Captain Bryan Niewind - SE Region Commander (@Capt_Niewind) December 30, 2019
Highway patrol officers have performed 60 rescues of vehicles stuck in the snow across the southeast part of the state since the wintry conditions began, Niewind said. Many of the rescues came on "secondary roads" where GPS devices rerouted drivers after the two main highways closed. Niewind said would-be drivers should heed the No Travel Advisory and stay off the roads unless there is an emergency.
It's a tough road ahead for many around the region trying to get to work. Snowplow drivers are still on the roads trying to get things cleared as quickly as possible as the snow storm makes its way out, but officials warn it's a work in progress.
Monday morning at around 6:30 a.m., the North Dakota Highway Patrol posted: "Several underpasses on I-94 and I-29 need to be cleared of snow. Have patience, if you take a chance and enter a closed road you could delay the clearing process.... It's gonna be a rough morning for them. Blowers are needed along I-29 & I-94 closures to get them opened. When we say roads are impassible, we mean it."
At 7:30 a.m Monday the North Dakota Highway Patrol also posted scenes of snowplows hard at work, asking drivers to stay off the roads in southeast North Dakota, where there is still no travel advised.
Sunday evening, the NDDOT and NDHP warned motorists not to use secondary roads to get around closed highways.
"These state highways may quickly become blocked or impassable especially during the overnight hours when snow plows are not present in rural areas," the organizations said in an email.
NO travel advised in parts of NW & WC MN due to low visibility & dangerous driving conditions. High winds & blowing snow are creating whiteout conditions in areas. More info https://t.co/UtVIO3kuBr these pics from I-94 in Clay County pic.twitter.com/GKNUlOF5Wc
NO travel advised in parts of NW & WC MN due to low visibility & dangerous driving conditions. High winds & blowing snow are creating whiteout conditions in areas. More info https://t.co/UtVIO3kuBr these pics from I-94 in Clay County pic.twitter.com/GKNUlOF5Wc— Sgt. Jesse Grabow (@MSPPIO_NW) December 29, 2019
A no travel advisory means conditions are such that motorists should not travel in these areas, and snowplows may be pulled from the roads.
TRAVEL ALERT – Motorists can still travel but may encounter areas of challenging winter weather driving conditions on roadways. Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destination and be alert to conditions that may make travel difficult, change rapidly, or cause travel delays. A TRAVEL ALERT has the potential to change to a NO TRAVEL ADVISED if conditions deteriorate.
NO TRAVEL ADVISED – Motorists should not travel due to hazardous conditions which may make it unsafe to travel. Snowplows may be pulled from the roads during severe conditions. Motorists should take NO TRAVEL ADVISED seriously as those motorists who choose to travel at their own risk may become stranded and emergency responders may not be able to reach them safely. A NO TRAVEL ADVISED has the potential to change to a ROAD CLOSED OR BLOCKED if conditions deteriorate.
ROAD CLOSED OR BLOCKED – Motorists are not allowed to travel on a closed road due to life threatening conditions. The road may be impassible or blocked. Motorists who drive past a road closure device may be fined up to $250.
Check this story for updates.