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WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 01, 2011, 12:17 PM

NDDOT: 18 Drivers Rescued On Closed I-29 Friday Night

The North Dakota Department of Transportation says 18 drivers were rescued on I-29 from Fargo to Grand Forks overnight. Some were taken to Altru Hospital with frostbite and other cold-weather injuries. The DOT is urging drivers to stay off closed roadways so that they do not become stranded.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation says 18 drivers were rescued on I-29 from Fargo to Grand Forks overnight. Some were taken to Altru Hospital with frostbite and other cold-weather injuries. The DOT is urging drivers to stay off closed roadways so that they do not become stranded.

The DOT says closed interstate stretches between Grand Forks and Fargo and Fargo and Jamestown will remain closed until Sunday, but has reopened I-29 from Grand Forks to Canada. Troy Gilbertson with the NDDOT says crews spent much of Friday evening and overnight rescuing stranded motorists who had gone around barriers and tried to travel on the closed interstate. He says on I-29 between Grand Forks and Fargo, 18 motorists were rescued and some of them were taken to Altru Hospital with frostbite and other cold-weather injuries.

North Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Dave Wolf says visibility is still low in open country and that road crews are dealing with 6 to 8 foot drifts on the interstates. He says there is a layer of glare ice under the snow from freezing rain that fell before the storm and that even snow plows are getting stuck trying to clear the roads.

Gilbertson is urging drivers to stay off of closed interstates so that that road crews can work on clearing roads instead of rescuing drivers. He says crews are still towing stranded vehicles from the roadway and that there "are not enough wreckers" to tow all of the stranded vehicles. Until the stranded vehicles are removed, portions of the interstate will not reopen. Gilbertson says the earliest the closed portions of interstate will reopen is Sunday.

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