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Interstates in ND have been closed 7 times this winter

So far this winter, the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the Highway Patrol have shut down the state’s two Interstate highways seven times due to bad weather.

The Patrol says that’s slightly above average.

Last year, two events caused the Interstates to be barricaded. And the last time there have been seven closures was the winter of 2018-2019.

Highway Patrol Sgt. Wade Kadrmas said the decision to close a road lies with patrol district commanders, utilizing reports from the roads themselves, and looking at weather forecasts.

"DOT will be to the point where their plow operators can't keep up with keeping the roads open," Kadrmas said. "Obviously, that's because of the snow, the wind — and can they keep up with the wind."

Kadrmas said they also receive reports from troopers on the road.

"It isn't done lightly," Kadrmas said. "They take into consideration the need to have the road open, versus the need to protect the public from traveling in unsafe conditions.'

Kadrmas said a couple of multi-vehicle crashes in eastern North Dakota show the reasons for closing highways.

"That one video of the Casselton Fire Department, trying to get those people out the vehicles that were in that pile-up was just telling," Kadmas said. "Conditions out there can get really nasty."

If you drive on a road that has been closed, you could be fined $250.

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