Department of Transportation’s interstate closure process

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 9:33 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Winter weather conditions caused the closure of both I-90 and I-29 Thursday night. The Department of Transportation closed the interstates at 10:00 pm, and they remained closed until early Friday morning.

There are several factors the DOT considers when deciding to close the interstate.

“Primarily we look at the visibility, and do we have accumulation where traffic is going to get stuck on the roadway,” said Travis Dressen, the Mitchell Region Engineer for the DOT.

The safety of the public, DOT workers, and law enforcement are primary concerns Dressen said.

The time of day that a storm is expected to hit also has a major impact on closures.

“More snow continuing after our plows have already left the road. Winds coming up, and going into the night the darkness really decreases the visibility,” said Dressen.

Even after the interstates reopened Friday, driving conditions remained hazardous, causing some of the most experienced drivers to pull off the road.

“I hit ice three times, when I went over those bridges it got scary,” said Terrence Lawhorne, a truck driver with 21 years of experience.

For the most current updates on travel conditions, visit the Department of Transportation’s website.

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