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A brown sticky substance that spilled onto a Mandan on-ramp Thursday prompted road closures for about three hours until investigators determined it was primarily maple syrup, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Troopers were called to the Exit 153 eastbound on-ramp in Mandan about 11:45 a.m. Thursday regarding an unknown substance that spilled on the roadway.

The substance was spread out along the on-ramp, spilled onto Mandan Avenue and was found on Memorial Highway and Collins Avenue, all in Mandan, the Highway Patrol said.

Because it was an unknown substance, the scene was closed for safety reasons.

“It kind of smelled like molasses when we got there,” said Trooper Brian Mehlhoff. “We weren’t sure what it was, and we couldn't really let traffic through until we were sure it wasn’t a hazard.”

The Bismarck HazMat team responded and determined the substance to be 87 percent maple syrup, possibly used for cattle feed, and not hazardous, the Highway Patrol said.

The North Dakota Department of Health also was among the agencies that responded and the North Dakota Department of Transportation cleaned up the spill. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The public is asked to contact the Highway Patrol at 844-474-6347 with information about the incident or the responsible party.

Mehlhoff said the individual responsible could be cited for having a leaking load and be held liable for the cost of the cleanup.

“We hopefully can track down who it was,” Mehlhoff said.

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(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or