Closure of I-94 strands hundreds of travelers in Alexandria

2:06 PM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
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ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - Dozens of semis are parked for the night in a Walmart parking lot in Alexandria after the closure of Interstate 94.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation closed the freeway early Sunday evening in advance of blizzard warnings across western Minnesota.

Matthew Henderson was hauling tractor parts from Ohio to Fargo when he was forced to make the unscheduled stop.  He took the delay in stride.  "I've been driving long enough; it's just part of life, part of the job."

One hotel manager said business was triple that of a normal Sunday night, though some rooms remained.

Alexandria started the day with eight to ten inches of new snow that whipped into a blinding swirl as evening set in and a blizzard warnings kicked in.

Jim Malsom of Maplewood was on his way to his father's funeral in Bismarck, North Dakota with his family, when he ended the drive  a couple hours before the barricades went up.  "We just kept seeing how bad it was and said it's not worth another hour or more to gain, so just said call it quits."

But forced off the interstate, Ben Disher insisted he'll still make it to his job in Montana, "tomorrow morning 6 a.m."  Told that wasn't likely, he said he'd rely on back roads and his GPS, before roaring off in his 4-wheel drive pick-up.

Winds are expected to pick up during the night and continue tomorrow morning.  The Alexandria school district has already cancelled Monday classes.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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