Update: A portion of I-94 near Rothsay is back open again after a jackknifed semi had it temporarily shut down this afternoon. The interstates and highways remain incredibly icy.
FARGO — I-94 is now open eastbound from Jamestown to Fargo and westbound from Fargo to Valley City. I-94 is open statewide for travel, and I-29 is also open from the South Dakota border to Canada., but the The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) along with the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) are encouraging drivers to be careful, as roadways may be snowy and icy from the recent storm.
All the No Travel advisories have been lifted.
Highway Patrol Capt. Bryan 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.
The City of Fargo announced 19th Avenue North will remain closed for the foreseeable future until wind speeds decrease.
City officials say Fargo trash and recycling collections will begin at noon, and city facilities and the Ground Transportation Center (GTC) in Downtown Fargo will open at noon as well, with MATBUS services beginning at 12:15 p.m.
"These are extreme conditions and Fargo Public Works staff members are asking residents to be patient. Crews worked overnight in residential areas on single pass-throughs," the release stated. "Every available staff member and piece of equipment is on the road battling the 13.5 inches of snow and continued high winds."
The release stated that removing snow from neighborhood roads in the far southern areas of Fargo is proving challenging, with city snowplows unable to move the amount of snow blown into those developments. Public Works crew members are utilizing even heavier equipment (including payloaders and motor graders) due to the weight and magnitude of the snow. Crews will be in these neighborhoods today; the City of Fargo is working as expeditiously as possible to open the roads for our residents and visitors, the release stated.
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.
Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney declared a snow emergency until noon Monday, allowing several city services to begin late.
Residents are asked to move all vehicles from streets to afford snow removal equipment operators the ability to navigate through areas in a safe and efficient manner.
Fargo City Hall, its police department, Fargo Public Libraries and Fargo Cass Public Health will open at noon.
Residential trash/recycling services will begin at 10 a.m., road conditions permitting. Sanitation services in Moorhead will begin at 8 a.m. The Fargo Sanitary Landfill and Household Hazardous Waste Facility will both open at 10 a.m.
MATBUS fixed routes and MAT Paratransit services will begin at 10:15 a.m. The Ground Transportation Center will open at 10 a.m.
Snow plowing services will continue and public safety agencies will be in full operation to protect and serve the residents of Fargo and West Fargo.
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 and Inforum for updates.