FARGO, ND (Valley News Live) – The North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol has opened I-29 from Fargo to Grand Forks.
I-94 is still closed eastbound and westbound from Bismark to Fargo. US Highway 2 is closed from Devils Lake to Grand Forks, and there is a No Travel Advisory in effect for all areas south central and eastern North Dakota due to snow drifts, icy roads and areas of hazardous driving conditions.
FARGO — Interstate 94 from Bismarck to Fargo has reopened after emergency crews spent the morning removing stranded vehicles and clearing snowdrifts that made the road impassible.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation announced just before noon it had cleared I-94 enough to make it drive-able. However, the interstate was still covered with ice, compacted snow, scattered ice and slush, a news release said.
I-94 was closed early Thursday through the east side of the state due to large snowdrifts, said NDDOT spokeswoman Jamie Olson. Heavy, tall drifts made it difficult for snowplows to move the piles, and the NDDOT had to use snowblowers to cut them down.
This weeks massive storm, which affected much of the Midwest, dropped 10 inches to a foot of snow near Jamestown, N.D. Winds gusting between 50 and 60 mph combined with the snow to make heavy and tall drifts.
NDHP #TrooperView East of Jamestown. The roads are improving as #NDDOT snowplows work to clear roads with minimal winds. pic.twitter.com/s1UuaTMZeB
The worst drifts were between Jamestown and Buffalo, N.D., according to NDDOT. Photos show stranded vehicles along the interstate, snow piles taller than squad cars and drifts that seem to swallow up lanes with no way to tell where the interstate ends and the ditch begins.
One semi was shown partially buried in snow, appearing as if it went off the interstate into the median.
North Dakota Department of Transportation crews with snow blowers and plows were working Friday, March 15, to clear Interstate 94 of heavy snow drifts, especially between the Jamestown and Buffalo interchanges. Several stuck vehicles had to be removed. Special to The Forum
Emergency crews removed stuck vehicles and their passengers in the early morning hours Friday, Olson said.
Parts of I-94 were shut down late Wednesday, making it one of the longest periods the interstate was closed in recent memory. A New Year's Eve storm in 2010 caused the interstate to close from Dec. 30, 2010, into Jan. 2, 2011, between Fargo and Bismarck, the last time that section of I-94 was closed for more than 24 hours, Olson said.
I-29 also closed Thursday morning from Fargo to the Canadian border due to drifting snow, but it reopened Friday morning. U.S. Highway 2 reopened from Devils Lake to Grand Forks.
Many highways in southeast North Dakota, especially south of I-94, remained closed as of 1 p.m. Friday. Crews were working to clear those roads as well.
"Due to the snow drifts, there are a number of roads that are blocked and impassable, and it will take a significant amount of time to clear roadways," according to the NDDOT release.
No travel is advised for southeast North Dakota, including Jamestown, Valley City, Ashley, Ellendale, Fargo and surrounding areas, the NDDOT said.
"Commercial trucks with oversize loads will be permitted on the interstate only starting at 2 p.m. in the southeast region," the release said. "No oversize loads will be permitted on secondary two-lane highways in the southeast region at this time."