Interstate 29 north of Harwood now open after 4 daysHarwood, ND (WDAY TV) - After nearly four days, I-29 north of Harwood is now open, but speeds are slower than usual with water still very close to the shoulders.
The State Patrol and North Dakota D-O-T mutually agreed this afternoon that I-29 is now safe to drive on, but with winter weather expected tomorrow, officials are being very cautious.
As the road closed signs came down this afternoon, it didn't take long for cars to follow. But despite the road being open, the danger isn't gone.
BRUCE NORD - ND Department of Transportation: “Colder temperatures, water next to the edge of the road, that is a concern that we have, you can't just slide off the road. Depending on how far you go out, the car could go under fairly rapidly.”
After using a few plows yesterday to clear water from I-29, today the DOT prepared for a late shot of winter. It'll have 14 snow plows ready in Fargo and at least 42 for rural Cass County.
Nord: “It's never a dull moment in the Highway Department. The guys all know that things change and they can change rapidly.”
If those plows are needed, it'll mean tougher road conditions on the interstate and in town.
Darryl Ritchison: “Because that snow is going to be so wet and heavy it will have a tendency to grab your tires and pull you over.”
And if the forecast worsens, DOT officials said they are prepared to close the interstate again.
Nord: “We wouldn't want to have to close down the interstate for a storm, but there's always that possibility.”
Speeds have been reduced to 45-miles-per hour between the Harwood and Argusville exits where officials say water levels remain the highest. Speeds will remain that way until water levels drop.