MnDOT public meeting to discuss using blowing snow control on upcoming road project
(BAXTER, Minn.) – Nowhere are winter driving conditions worse than on rural highways surrounded by open landscapes, where winds create white out conditions and form drifts that make travel difficult. To combat these hazardous conditions, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is exploring the use of snow fencing in an upcoming road project on Highway 169/210 to be constructed in 2022.
A public information meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at Aitkin City Hall, 109 1st Ave NW., to review the blowing snow control program that pays private landowners for installing snow control measures on their property. The program offers a variety of blowing snow control options including long-term solutions such as trees, shrubs, native grasses or structural snow fences and short-term solutions such as standing corn rows or stacked hay bales. These options enable MnDOT to work with landowners to develop a tailored solution for their unique property needs.
Currently, MnDOT is seeking landowners along the Highway 169/210 corridor willing to install snow fences in blowing snow problem areas.
Dan Gullickson, blowing snow fence program coordinator, said farmers who participate in the program get compliments from people who use the road to get to their destinations.
“People who drive those roads to get to work, take their children to school or do other daily trips appreciate those roads being clear and they often thank the landowner for this public service,” Gullickson said.
Snow fences also save taxpayer dollars, as MnDOT snowplow operators make fewer trips, resulting in less fuel consumption, and reduce the usage of deicers such as salt, sand and chemicals, for smaller impacts on the environment.
Research by MnDOT, the University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies shows that snow fences can reduce the severity of injuries on road curves by 40 percent.
“Participating in the blowing snow control program reduces the risk of your family, friends and the public being involved in an accident caused by drifting and blowing snow,” said Amy Staudinger.
For more information about the blowing snow control program or to find out if a property is eligible for the program, contact Amy Staudinger, MnDOT’s central Minnesota snow control coordinator, at 320-423-1077, or go online at mndot.gov/environment/livingsnowfence/.
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