Icy interstate keeps patrol busy with vehicles in ditch in Jamestown area Sunday
Incidents involving more than 20 vehicles have been reported.
JAMESTOWN – Blowing snow across Interstate 94 in the Jamestown and Barnes County areas has created icy road conditions, and multiple vehicles have gone into the ditch and median Sunday, March 12, said Sgt. Evan Savageau of the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
“We definitely have significant ice on the interstate right now in areas which is causing us some issues with vehicles going in the ditch,” he said.
Along with that, there have been semis with enclosed trailers jackknifing, blocking the interstate at multiple points in eastbound and westbound lanes, he said.
“The longest one we’ve had was about 45 minutes,” he said, involving both eastbound lanes in Barnes County at mile marker 283.
“We had traffic backed up for at least five miles,” Savageau said.
He said the incidents have been affecting about a 90-mile stretch of I-94 in the area, keeping the patrol busy from Tower City to Crystal Springs. More than 10 vehicles have been involved in those incidents, he said, and there have been incidents with multiple vehicles at the same location.
“Vehicle traffic is traveling too fast for the conditions that we have right now, and then we’re also seeing issues with people following too close and not leaving a good reactionary gap and it causes some issues with that as well,” Savageau said.
He said there was mainly property damage but most of the incidents didn’t require a crash report.
He said with higher winds and temperatures in the upper teens and low to mid-20s, ground snow was blowing across the highway, freezing and sticking.
“... it creates pretty icy conditions out here and so it’s tough to try to keep up with it,” Savageau said. The wind also changed directions, he noted, coming out of the southeast on Friday and on Sunday out of the north. That is impacting both lanes of the interstate in the area, he said.
“DOT (The North Dakota Department of Transportation) has been doing a really good job, they’ve been out there pretty much most of the day and doing the best they can with the conditions that we have, so hopefully when the wind calms down here a little bit so we can treat the roads with sand and salt and … it’s going to get a little bit better,” he said.
Savageau said people should drive for conditions, and that’s the message they’re telling people they’ve come across.
“Drive for the conditions and maybe reduce speeds,” he said Sunday evening. “That’s the biggest thing we’re seeing. Speed has created a lot of issues today.”