Highway 85 a muddy messOne frequently traveled area highway, often backed up with oilfield truck traffic due to construction, has turned into a muddy mess after heavy rains, with at least one semi becoming stuck Saturday afternoon.
One frequently traveled area highway, often backed up with oilfield truck traffic due to construction, has turned into a muddy mess after heavy rains, with at least one semi becoming stuck Saturday afternoon.
Sgt. Dan Haugen of the North Dakota Highway Patrol said electronic billboards are warning drivers to use alternate routes other than U.S. Highway 85 as it is under construction.
But some push on.
Haugen said he wouldn’t be surprised if a semi was stuck as it is “basically a dirt road.”
The semi became stuck about midway between Grassy Butte and Watford City where most of the traffic was commercial trucks with only a few passenger cars, some of which waited for over an hour to get through.
After the semi was removed from the muddy ruts, construction workers re-graded the one-lane detour.
Dispatch at the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office said motorists need to avoid using Highway 85.
“When they take the surfacing off it’s just bare mud,” a dispatcher said. “The best way for people to go is to just stay away from there.”
It is unclear what length the construction spans on Highway 85.
Dispatch recommends drivers take Interstate 94 to Highway 16, heading north to Sather Dam then over to Highway 68.
It is recommended those traveling to Dickinson take Highway 23 to Watford City, head east from Johnsons Corner to Highway 73 then to N.D. Highway 22.
However, Highway 73 has several potholes and reduced speeds, according to dispatch.
As of about 2:45 p.m. Saturday, no accidents had been reported on the treacherous section of Highway 85.
Since the construction started, dispatch for the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office says it has been receiving an abundance of calls reporting traffic violations and stuck vehicles.
Haugen said motorists can check road conditions by calling 511 or going to the Department of Transportation’s website at www.dot.nd.gov.