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February 21, 2011 04:57 PM

Truckers Forced Off Road During Closure


After a wintry blast paralyzed travel, more than 100 truckers were forced to cool their heels at a Sioux Falls truck stop.

Jack McDermott thought he'd make it to Aberdeen Sunday night. Instead, he made an unexpected stop in Sioux Falls.

"And there's a friendly South Dakota Highway Patrolman there with his lights going like this and a big scowl on his face and motioning to get back to the ramp. So I swung around and pulled back in here and parked it," McDermott said.

When we caught up with him Monday morning, he and more than 100 other truckers were still waiting for Interstate 29 to open back up.

Many of the truck drivers have been stranded here since Saturday afternoon and fear they will not be able to make their delivery deadlines by Monday.

"Yeah, I'm supposed to be there by 8, but I'm going to be late of course," Tim Manning said. "But it's better late than not at all.

At first, Billy Byrd and three of his co-workers didn't believe I-29 was closed. But now that he's stuck, he's making the most of it.

“I am going to go in and have me some breakfast, sit down and get some coffee and wait for the weather to chill out," Byrd said.

Something truckers have been forced to do a lot lately.

“It's terrible. It's been terrible. It's been a bad winter. It's not any fun being a truck driver," McDermott said.

Truckers hauling the entire stage for country artist Toby Keith were also stranded in Sioux Falls overnight because of the I-29 closure. They said they need to hustle to Saskatchewan Canada by Tuesday to set up the next show.
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