Weather Forecast


Flood detour on I-29 in N.D. adds miles, dollars to truck drivers' routes

Truck driver Terry Nicholson says the Interstate 29 detour caused by water on the highway added about an hour to his trip from Winnipeg to Fargo, where he's waiting to pick up a tractor at the Case New Holland plant. The tractor, similar to the one on the truck in the background, is being trucked to Ontario through Minnesota and Michigan. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO - The closure of Interstate 29 north of here is more than a headache for area businesses.

It's costly.

The route between Fargo and Grand Forks that normally is 79 miles for Valley Express truck drivers is now a 116-mile route, said owner Glenn Nelson.

That's adding $60 to $80 in shipping costs for each trip, Nelson said.

The detour also restricts trucks that are overweight or hauling anything that is over in dimension, Nelson said.

I-29 is closed north of Fargo from Cass County Road 20 to North Dakota Highway 200 south of Hillsboro due to water over the roadway. Traffic is being detoured west through Casselton.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation says the road will reopen as soon as water recedes and debris can be cleaned off the road.

"It's a huge inconvenience because of extra time, extra miles and the waiting time," said Jim Elliott, owner of Elliott Transport Systems in Moorhead. "With fuel at $4 a gallon, it gets pretty significant in a hurry."

FedEx, which has a hub in Grand Forks that handles deliveries for North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, is also being affected.

Brandon Maus, ramp operations manager, said some employees are working longer shifts to make sure customers are still being served. The detour adds about an hour each way, he said.

Flooding is also hampering mail delivery on both sides of the Red River.

Pete Nowacki, a Minneapolis spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said carriers are attempting to deliver mail, but some households may see delivery curtailed for an extended period.

"Until the roads are passable, there's just not much we can do," Nowacki said.

Customers can have their mail held at the post office for pickup; give permission for their mail to temporarily be delivered to another customer's mailbox; or put up a temporary mailbox on a section of the carrier's route that is still accessible.

Gladys Nelson, postmaster for the Georgetown, Minn., post office, said residents are patient and picking up their mail at the post office if the carriers can't deliver.

"We're trying to get to everybody that we can get to," Nelson said.