No travel advised in Lincoln, Minnehaha counties Friday as ‘impassable’ conditions persist

While some roads may begin opening throughout Friday, law enforcement wants South Dakotans to remember that open roads don’t necessarily mean safe roads.

A highway camera shows low visibility and blowing snow across Interstate 90 near mile marker 394 on Friday morning.
Contributed / South Dakota Department of Transportation

SIOUX FALLS — No travel advisories remain in place in Sioux Falls as well as Lincoln and Minnehaha counties Friday morning, Dec. 23, as multiple persisting weather warnings are creating impassable and impossible conditions.

With a blizzard warning still in effect across eastern South Dakota until 6 p.m. Friday night and a wind chill warning across the same area until midday Saturday, government officials on all levels have one message for the public: Stay home if you can.

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Swenson took to social media early Friday to warn residents “DO…..NOT…..TRAVEL….in Lincoln County!!” Plows were unable to clear all drifts during the overnight hours, leaving stretches of state and county highways impassable. Photos from snow plow drivers showed significant drifting at intersections across the county, including at the intersection of Lincoln County Highway 106 (271st Street) and South Dakota Highway 115 (Minnesota Avenue), a major junction for travel between Harrisburg and Sioux Falls.

To the north, the Minnehaha County, the sheriff’s office published an early-morning message with the same idea, reporting that several highways remain impassable and that deputies had spent the overnight hours rescuing stranded motorists. However, with multiple tow companies not operating early Friday, Sheriff Mike Milstead said several vehicles are left in the roadway. On social media, the sheriff’s office said plows will not resume until later in the morning, if they’re able to do so at all.

“Conditions remain life threatening. If you get stranded you will need to literally be rescued,” the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook. “If you are stranded, stay with your vehicle and prepare to be there for a long period of time.”


A later post at 9:45 a.m. Friday showed snow drifts as tall as vehicles remained on highway shoulders.

After the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) closed interstate highways to the west, north and east of Sioux Falls on Thursday, some stretches are beginning to open up. At 9 a.m. Friday, state officials reopened two-way traffic on Interstate 29 from Sioux Falls to Watertown. The stretch from Watertown to the North Dakota border, however, will remain closed for some time, as authorities continue to monitor visibility in the area.

Interstate 90 remains closed from the west end of Sioux Falls to Rapid City, except for westbound traffic from Wall to Rapid City. The SDDOT said significant drifting is still occurring on I-90 in eastern South Dakota, and that plowing progress will be monitored throughout the day. I-90 from Sioux Falls to the Minnesota border was reopened at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Just because some roads are reopening, however, doesn’t mean they’re safe for travel, the South Dakota Highway Patrol warned on social media. Ice, snow-covered roads and visibility issues can still persist, even if a road remains open. Troopers advise travelers to slow down, watch for plows, don’t use cruise control and wear a seat belt.

The latest travel information can be found on or on social media pages for law enforcement entities or the SDDOT.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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