Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Jan. 23, 2018

MnDOT snowplows, ice breaker attacking snow, ice compaction in SE Minnesota

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Motorists in southeast Minnesota will find a mix of challenging driving conditions Tuesday as Minnesota Department of Transportation crews continue winter storm cleanup, loosening up the compacted layer of snow and ice on state highways.

Monday’s heavy, wet snow, combined with a quick drop below freezing temperatures helped create snow and ice compaction on the highways in southeast Minnesota. Vehicle tires pack down snow and the compacted snow freezes and forms a layer of ice on the roads.

MnDOT snowplows are using salt on the road. MnDOT is also using an ice breaker to loosen the compaction layer on southbound Interstate 35 south of Owatonna. The ice breaker uses a carbide-tipped roller on the front of a snowplow truck and uses its underbody blade and a motor grader following behind to loosen and break up the icy compaction.

Highways through the swath of southeast Minnesota that received some of the highest snow totals are seeing the most challenging compaction on Tuesday. Motorists who left their vehicles on the roads and ramps may have been towed to clear the path for continued snow cleanup.

In southeast Minnesota there are 102 snowplows are on the state highways in the 11-county MnDOT District 6. MnDOT has all of its plows on the road. In southeast Minnesota, MnDOT plows 3,774 lane miles. An average route for drivers is 31 miles.

Roads are improving, but it’s always good to consult MnDOT’s road conditions map at www.511mn.org

MnDOT snowplow operators will do their part to make highways safe. Motorists should remember to:

  • Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
  • Turn off the cruise control.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Don’t drive distracted.

For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to http://www.dot.state.mn.us/workzone/winter.html.

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