Ut oh, road closed ahead
September 20, 2011 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Need routing help, RV traveling from Winnipeg to Memphis ... our usual route has closures and detours.

So in about 10 days we take our annual journey from Winnipeg to the Memphis area. Usually we go I-29 from the Canadian border to Kansas City, then east, but I just learned that parts of I-29 in North Dakota and Iowa are closed, with lengthy detours.

We are on a time schedule (3-4 days to get to Memphis), and driving a long pickup towing a 32 foot fifth wheel, so (non-freeway) detours through urban areas, etc. are undesirable.

I am looking for the following things:
1) alternative routes without detours... perhaps through MN
2) information on road closures/detours on major alternative routes, as well as on I-29
3) websites to find specific, current, information now and just before we leave ... keeping in mind I will not have internet access while on the road and do not have a smartphone. For that matter, no phone at all.
4) anything else pertinent

Thank you much mefi for the help!
posted by batikrose to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
I did the googles and the second route is taking what is known as the Avenue of the Saints. This way will send you around Minneapolis/St. Paul as well as St. Louis, but much of the rest is rural. The stretch from Twin Cities to St. Louis is nearly all 4-lane highway with fairly high speed limits. Google lists the drive times as being within 3 minutes and the distance to be within 25km.

FWIW: I-29 closures are isolated to Iowa and Missouri at this point due to massive flooding and damage. The detour they are sending most travellers on is I-80 east to I-35, which is NOT a very good route.

State travel information websites:

In many states you can call 511 for travel information from a cell or payphone.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:53 PM on September 20, 2011

Where are you getting your info about I-29 being closed in North Dakota? The official North Dakota DOT travel map doesn't show any closures. If you can get down to Fargo on I-29, you can route yourself along (say) I-94 to Madison, I-39 south to avoid the Chicago area, and then a combo of I-57 and I-55.

If I-29 is really closed in ND, your best bet is use provincial highways and US-59 to go south through Minnesota, finally picking I-94 back up near Fergus Falls, MN; then proceed with either my route or Mr. Fabulous's. My family used to drive US-59 from Winnipeg to the vicinity of Detroit Lakes & back about once a year when I was growing up (in the winter, no less), and it seemed to work just fine for us.
posted by Johnny Assay at 3:59 PM on September 20, 2011

Best answer: I live right off I-29 in North Dakota and I can assure you it's not closed! The Google Maps closure info is probably referring to the Iowa stuff.

They are re-surfacing I-29 in ND but it's really not that bad (it backs up a bit around Fargo but you should be fine). You can definitely take the I-29 from Manitoba (whatever it's called in Manitoba, I forget, but they link up as you know) down to Fargo. To avoid the Iowa issue, take the I-94 over to various freeways.

I did a custom Google Maps thing (Memail if you'd like me to send it to you) taking into account the warnings and caveats above and opting for largest but fewest freeways and here's the directions I came up with (long, sorry!). It was about 21 hours, 1300 miles. Note that parts of I-39 in Illinois are toll (step 6). Please note that Google has options now to send this info to your GPS, if you have one.

1. Merge onto I-29 S/US-81 S toward Grand Forks Continue to follow I-29 S 152 mi
2. Take exit 63A to merge onto I-94 E toward Minneapolis Entering Minnesota 227 mi
3. Continue straight onto I-694 E 23.6 mi
4. Continue onto I-494 S 0.3 mi
5. Take exit 58B to merge onto I-94 E toward Madison Entering Wisconsin 248 mi
6. Continue onto I-39 S/I-90 E Partial toll road Entering Illinois 67.2 mi
7. Take the I-39 S/US-20/US-51 exit toward Rockford 0.2 mi
8. Merge onto I-39 S/US-51 S 2.8 mi
9. Take the exit onto I-39 S/US-51 S toward Bloomington Normal 119 mi
10. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for I-74/Peoria/Champaign and merge onto I-55 S 7.6 mi
11. Slight right to stay on I-55 S 65.0 mi
12. Slight left to stay on I-55 S (signs for St Louis) 73.8 mi
13. Merge onto I-70 W 8.2 mi
14. Take exit 10 toward Memphis 1.5 mi
15. Merge onto I-255 S Entering Missouri 24.1 mi
16. Take exit 1A to merge onto I-55 S toward Memphis Entering Arkansas 265 mi
17. Slight left onto I-40 E Entering Tennessee 5.3 mi
18. Take exit 1 for Riverside Dr/Front Street N/Front Street S 0.2 mi
posted by librarylis at 9:26 PM on September 20, 2011

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