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Rural Cass roads succumb to overland floodwaters

FARGO - Authorities continued urging drivers on Monday to take caution in flood-affected areas, especially north and northwest of the metro. Overland floodwaters in Cass County have engulfed farmland and made miles of rural roads inaccessible and...

Interstate 29
Interstate 29 remained closed Monday due to overland flooding that inundates the roadway from about Cass County Road 4 in Argusville southward to Harwood. Kristen Daum / The Forum

FARGO - Authorities continued urging drivers on Monday to take caution in flood-affected areas, especially north and northwest of the metro.

Overland floodwaters in Cass County have engulfed farmland and made miles of rural roads inaccessible and dangerous for travel.

Some drivers continue to ignore barricades for closed roadways, and there have also been issues with speeding on the detour route for Interstate 29, Sheriff Paul Laney said Monday.

Thirty-one miles of I-29 closed Sunday because of flooding, and traffic was rerouted by way of Interstate 94 west to Casselton and Cass County Highway 18 north to near Hillsboro.

Deputies reported several drivers were cited for speeding Sunday night through the rural communities of Hunter and Arthur, both on Cass 18.

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That problem appeared to diminish Monday, according to authorities patrolling the area.

"It maybe just took a day for people to realize what was going on," Deputy Jeff Olson said. "The speeds have been way down today."

Highway Patrol troopers also monitored the area and were cracking down with speeding citations as necessary, Sgt. Troy Hischer said.

Fines depend on the speed, but driving 10 mph over the posted limit is a minimum $20 fine.

"We're obviously concerned with speeders going through town, and we're definitely giving it an increased enforcement effort," Hischer said.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, no accidents had yet occurred on the I-29 detour since it took effect Sunday.

Meanwhile, authorities again cautioned drivers to travel with care and obey road closures for their own safety.

North of West Fargo, a semi driver was forced to turn around Monday morning after he ignored a road closure sign posted on Cass County Road 17, where floodwaters have taken over stretches of the roadway.

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Sheriff's deputies said the driver told them he was trying to get to Grand Forks using back roads because I-29 was closed.

Hischer said patrol officers encountered similar incidents in the region.

"No one should be trying to take a shortcut, even if you know the area," Hischer said. "That's where we run into trouble."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541

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