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150 - 200 vehicles stranded, I-29 closed north of Watertown - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Stranded on I-29

Posted: Updated:

5:30PM

South Dakota Department of Transportation officials announce Interstate 29 is now completely open from N.D. border to Watertown, S.D. Cleanup work in the area between Peever and Wilmot is ongoing and motorists should use caution around snowplows and emergency vehicles.

Officials remind motorists that winter driving conditions still exist, including some snow packed and slippery areas and possible blowing and drifting snow.

2:00PM

Stretches of Interstate 29 in northeast South Dakota are open again after an overnight ground blizzard that brought traffic to a half.  Officials said at noon Thursday that the northbound lanes of Interstate 29 were open from Sisseton to the North Dakota border. 

Southbound lanes were open from Summit south.  Interstate 29 remained closed northbound from Watertown to Sisseton and southbound from the North Dakota border to Summit.

10:15AM

A rescue operation is under way after a ground blizzard stranded numerous vehicles on Interstate 29 in Roberts County. According to Pat Culhane, Codington County Search and Rescue Commander, 150-200 cars are stranded.

Five rescue vehicles are out in northeast South Dakota, including a snow cat, a large machine that runs on tracks like a military tank. He says motorists are being taken to a casino at Sisseton, a rest area at Wilmot, and a truck stop in Summit.

Culhane says that they will be rescuing stranded people throughout the morning and it will likely take all day to clear the cars and drifts from the road.  As of this morning, no serious injuries have been reported, however, there were some stranded travelers with medical conditions that were made a priority.

8:00AM

A rescue operation is under way after a ground blizzard stranded dozens of vehicles overnight on Interstate 29 in northeast South Dakota's Roberts County.

Many of the vehicles have been stuck since late Wednesday. Highway Patrol Lt. Brett Shutt says as many as 100 vehicles are stuck between Summit and Sisseton.

Watertown police officer Ruben Kinnunen tells KFGO radio that a rescue vehicle was sent out about 3 a.m. Thursday. Stranded Fargo businessman Rick Todd tells the radio station via cell phone that a van next to him with children is running out of gas.

Summit truck stop worker Janet Eastman tells KFGO the place is packed with truckers. One of them told the station that some drifts in the 20-mile stretch are four feet deep.

Valey News live has crews covering a variety of angles of this story. Later today, we'll hear from a Bismark family trapped on the interstate, we'll see why a Fargo businessman wishes he had been better prepared for the crisis and we'll get a look at the scene from the air.



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