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Published June 10 2010

UPDATED: Driver cited after driving through fresh concrete on I-94, damage estimated at more than $100,000

UPDATED 10:55

FARGO – The North Dakota Highway Patrol has cited an Alabama man for driving through a freshly paved section of Interstate 94 in Fargo overnight, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage and further frustrating motorists dealing with traffic congestion in the construction zone.

Jadick Vladimir, 62, of Theodore, Ala., told authorities he was driving a pickup pulling a camper trailer when he got confused by the barrels and cones in the construction zone on I-94 between I-29 and 45th Street, patrol Lt. Bryan Niewind said.

“He thought he was exiting off the interstate and ran into this wet concrete,” Niewind said.

Vladimir was issued a $20 citation for driving through a safety zone when prohibited.

The incident happened about 10:30 p.m., and the damage was discovered early Thursday. The patrol found the pickup and trailer parked at Petro Travel Center at I-94 and 45th Street at about 9:20 a.m.

The pickup and trailer tires left ruts up to 6 inches deep and 600 to 700 feet long in the third lane being added to westbound I-94, Niewind said.

Northern Improvement was already tearing up the still-wet concrete this morning, he said.

It’s not clear who will pay for the damage. The Highway Patrol doesn’t determine fault in such cases, leaving it up to the insurance companies for Northern Improvement and the driver, Niewind said. Northern Improvement owns the concrete until the project is completed, he said.

The road was paved Wednesday afternoon and the concrete was still tender when the pickup drove through it, said Joe Peyerl, project engineer for the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The pickup had to cross two sets of traffic control devices – a row of orange barrels and tubular markers – to get into the new lane, 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.