Wisconsin National Guard Brigadier General Don Dunbar doubts closing Interstate 39/90 during a major snowstorm earlier this month would have kept thousands of motorists from being stranded.
The February 6th storm dropped over 15 inches of snow on Dane and Rock Counties and caused icy conditions that resulted in an over 15 mile back-up. Dunbar says closing the Interstate would not have prevented motorists from becoming stranded, since the decision would have come after many were already stuck on the road.
A report from Dunbar highlights the failures of the State Patrol in effectively addressing the back-up. It shows the agency frequently rejected the option of shutting down the Interstate lanes south of Madison. A large reason for that decision was that many alternate routes were in even worse condition.
However, Dunbar says officials still could have taken steps to keep other motorists from getting stuck. He does admit that closing the Interestate once the situation was clear may have kept additional motorists from becoming stuck overnight.
The report does suggest the state develop plans for shutting down Interstates during major storms in the future.