Clearing the roads

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At 1 p.m. Friday, it was "ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!"

That's when the Department of Transportation opened I-94 between Bismarck and Fargo, allowing hundreds of truckers and other eastbound travelers to finally hit the road after a 32-hour wait.

State snowplows had difficulty clearing out huge snowdrifts across the road.

Plows and snow blowers ran around the clock to open the roads.

"We thought it went very well, to get a roadway open. We cleared from roughly 161 here in Bismarck all the way to Fargo in about half a day, and that's hats off to our plow operators," said Larry Gangl, Bismarck district engineer.

Crews said they saw snow drifts from eight to 10 feet high on some of the roads.

"The blowing snow, it creates drifting and it's nonstop, so you run circles," said Travis David, plow operator.

They also said that it took them about half that time to move cars that got stuck on the roadway in the storm. Staff cautioned motorists to pay attention to the travel warnings.

"We're serious when we put them out. The conditions are that bad, and we are continually getting reports back from our trucks, so we know when conditions are getting. When it's getting tough for them to go, we know it's going to be tough for the motorists to go. We just say when you see those No Travel Advised, please make alternate plans," said Gangl.

Gangl says that some operators have been working seven-day weeks for the last six to seven weeks because of this year's snow and wind.

The Department of Transportation is warning drivers again about passing plows.

There have been more than 20 plow related accidents this winter.