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Highway now a waterway: 31 miles of Interstate 29 north of Fargo closed due to flooding

Southbound traffic on Interstate 29 near Argusville on Sunday. Flooding forced a detour that is about 33 miles longer than the stretch of interstate it replaces. Dan Olson / Special to The Forum

ARGUSVILLE, N.D. - This community just north of Fargo was the scene of two water rescues Sunday as flooding in the area forced the closing of 31 miles of Interstate 29 and prompted officials in nearby Harwood and Casselton to the southwest to halt water use.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation Sunday afternoon closed I-29 between exits 69 and 100 until further notice after several inches of water began coursing over 12 miles of highway between mile markers 72 and 84.

A detour sent traffic through Casselton and Blanchard between Cass County Road 20 just north of Fargo and North Dakota Highway 200 just south of Hillsboro. The detour is about 33 miles longer than the stretch of interstate it replaces.

Before the highway was closed early Sunday evening, the flooding was causing an hour delay for northbound traffic, according to Bob Walton, district engineer for the department of transportation.

The expanse of water in the area reminded one highway official of Devils Lake:

"As far as you can see, it's water," said Bruce Nord, maintenance superintendent for the transportation department.

Nord said the stretch of highway hasn't experienced severe flooding conditions since the early '70s. The affected portion of the interstate had been rebuilt in recent years, but not raised.

Nord warned that the interstate in this area could be closed for several days.