State highways and Interstate 80 in the Nebraska Panhandle remain closed, and officials with the Nebraska Department of Transportation say it will take some time to get them open and traffic moving again.
District 5 Operations Manager Chris Ford tells KNEB News the good news is the snow ended about as forecast Wednesday evening, but the bad news is the wind came up overnight and drifted in highways. “There’s people that went out in the night and got stuck and got in trouble on the highways and abandoned their vehicles,” says Ford, “So now we’re having to deal with abandoned vehicles and people out looking at the storm, getting in our way and interfering with our snow removal operations.”
Ford says realistically, late Thursday afternoon will be the earliest highways could be opened, and perhaps as late as sometime Friday. “I talked with my people on the Interstate and up in Chadron and they’re in the same shape, maybe (with) a little more snow up north, and we’re working on them but we’re struggling, and the abandoned vehicles aren’t helping much.”