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Damage to fresh concrete on I-94 estimated at more than $100,000

FARGO - Someone drove through freshly poured concrete on Interstate 94 in Fargo overnight, causing more than $100,000 in damage and further frustrating motorists dealing with traffic congestion in the construction zone.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the vandalism, which took place sometime between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 3 a.m. today, said Joe Peyerl, project engineer for the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

Peyerl said the vehicle responsible - officials believe it may have been a pickup pulling a trailer - damaged a 635-foot-long stretch of the new driving lane being added to westbound I-94 between 45th Street and I-29.

The concrete was poured Wednesday afternoon and was still tender when the vehicle drove through it, leaving ruts up to 3 inches deep, Peyerl said.

The vehicle would have had to cross two sets of traffic control devices - a row of orange barrels and tubular markers - to get onto the new lane, he said.

"We're sure speculating that it was willful," he said, adding that if it wasn't intentional, the driver would have had to be "very confused."

It will cost an estimated $110,000 to $120,000 to tear up the road and repave it, which will take a couple of days, he said.

Traffic on westbound I-94 in that area has been down to one lane this week, causing significant delays. Vehicles were backed up to University Drive during rush hour Wednesday afternoon, Peyerl said.

"It's frustrating for us and the traveling public that we were so close to getting it done and now we'll have to redo it, so it'll take a long time and more lane closures and more delays to the public, which is frustrating to everyone," he said.