Blizzard Leaves 800 Motorists Stranded Along Highways In North Dakota

North Dakota continued to dig out Saturday from a fast-moving blizzard that barreled through the state the day before, stranding an estimated 800 motorists along Interstate 94 and U.S. Highway 83.

A pedestrian fights the wind and snow as she makes her way down Bismarck’s 5th St. on Friday afternoon. North Dakota continued to dig out Saturday from a fast-moving blizzard that barreled through the state the day before, stranding an estimated 800 motorists along Interstate 94 and U.S. Highway 83.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered the North Dakota Highway Patrol to use aircraft Saturday to search for any motorists than may be stranded.

“Our emergency services worked throughout the night to rescue stranded motorists and we will continue to assist those in need of help,” Dalrymple said.

The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, the National Guard , the Highway Patrol,  the Department of Transportation and other medical and emergency services worked through the night to provide rescue and recovery efforts for stranded motorists, the governor said.

By Saturday morning, most of the roads were likely passable but they could not be reopened to traffic because of the high number of abandoned vehicles clogging them.

 Interstate 94 was still  closed from Dickinson to Fargo as of 11:30 a.m. Saturday, as was U.S. Highway 83 from Bismarck to Minot and highways west of Garrison.

No travel advisories remained in effect for areas from south and west of Hazen east to state Highway 3 and in the Jamestown and Valley City areas.

Interstate 29 was reopened from Fargo to the South Dakota border but remained closed from Watertown to Sisseton.

I-29 also was closed from the Canadian border to Grand Forks and state Highway 1806 was closed between Highway 8 and Highway 200.

 The Highway Patrol and DOT planned to work throughout the day to assist in the removal of abandoned cars, to respond to accidents and to clear snow.

The public is encouraged to check the NDDOT website at www.dot.nd.gov or call 511 for updated road information.

 The Highway Patrol is coordinating an information center for people who abandoned their vehicles during the winter storm.

 For vehicle information, go to the NDHP site at www.nd.gov/ndhp.  Local wreckers have been taking these vehicles to pre-determined drop-off points.

Vehicle owners who do not have access to the Internet, and need to recover their vehicles can call 701-328-9921.

Bismarck Tribune