SDDOT Update on Current Closures/Openings and Statewide Travel Conditions – Dec. 16, 2022 (Update #2)
For Immediate Release: Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 (Update #2)
Contact: Craig Smith, Director of Operations, 605-773-5155
PIERRE, S.D. – Due to the continued impact of the strong winter storm system moving through the state, closures on Interstate 90 and Interstate 29 remain in place as of Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.
The Interstate closures are expected to be removed as the wind and snow subside to a point drifted snow can be cleared and roadways safely maintained.
As the weather conditions allow, opening the Interstates will be the first priority. Crews are using all available resources from across the state to clean-up and restore travel. Conditions are currently expected to improve late Friday into Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, then DOT crews will be able to clear substantial snow drifts with blowers and other large equipment.
- I-90 reopened at 2 p.m. (MT)on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, from Rapid City to the Wyoming state line. Travelers should expect to encounter slippery road conditions with continued areas of blowing snow.
- I-90 will remain closed from Rapid City east to Mitchell through the overnight of Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.
- SDDOT anticipates reopening I-90 from Rapid City to Wall early afternoon on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.
- SDDOT anticipates reopening I-90 from Wall to Mitchell late afternoon on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022
- I-29 will remain closed from the city of Watertown to the North Dakota border through the overnight of Friday, Dec. 16, 2022.
- SDDOT anticipates reopening I-29 mid-morning on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.
Limited Truck Parking:
- SDDOT and Department of Public Safety (DPS) note that limited long-term parking is available along the Interstates due to closures; as well as along the state highways where roadways are impassable.
Impassable State Highways:
No Travel Advisories continue to impact nearly all state highways across South Dakota, with several highways physically impassable from blockages of large snow drifts and bridges completely plugged.
Sustained strong winds have continued to make secondary highways impassable over an extended period of time.
Multiple highways are currently listed as “Road Impassable” on SD511. When a road is listed as “Road Impassable”, travel on the road segment is physically impossible due to widespread deep snow and drifts. Clearing these roads is expected to be difficult as winds and additional snow are preventing ability to safely and effectively plow or blow the drifted snow, especially with the added issue of stranded vehicles.
Stranded Vehicles: Many vehicles have become stuck and stranded in an attempt to travel on state highways to avoid Interstate closures. Removal of stranded vehicles is underway. The removal of stranded and abandoned vehicles greatly impacts the snow removal process for DOT operators as they attempt to clear roads and work around these vehicles. DOT resources are significantly impacted when plow operators are diverted to rescue efforts and aren’t able to plow and clear roads during day time hours. The DOT urges that people avoid travel as storm clean-up continues. Penalties for non-compliance of Interstate Closures: Any person who fails to observe any sign, marker, warning, notice or direction, or barrier placed or given under § 31-4-14.2 is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Any unauthorized presence on a closed highway is evidence of a violation of this section. DPS officials note that failure to comply with an Interstate closure may result in a $232 fine, a civil penalty of up to $1,000, and the actual cost of any such rescue, not to exceed $10,000.
Road Conditions Across the State:
At this point, SDDOT and DPS ask that motorists please avoid travel at this time. Both agencies have all resources available working through the challenges associated with this massive storm system, including the rescue of travelers and the extensive clean-up.
SD511 Notifications: Safety on the roadways, for plow operators and the traveling public, is the number one priority for both DOT and DPS. Please use available resources for travel planning over the next few days.
For the latest on road and weather conditions, please visit https://sd511.org or dial 511. Sign up for customized notifications on https://sd511.org for this free service that allows you to receive text messages and/or email notifications about road closure updates and travel advisories along routes of your choice.
To access the latest information, please click on the December 2022 Storm Information graphic on the homepage of the SDDOT website at https://dot.sd.gov/.