Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Trending questions and answers

Why aren’t the plows out?

Answer

MnDOT crews are out in advance of storms preparing the roads. Snow plow crews are out plowing as soon as the snow starts and continue through the end of storms. We continue to monitor the road conditions, applying material as needed and clearing roads. Despite our large fleet of plows and drivers, it’s possible you didn’t see a plow during your travels – considering the large areas plows are covering. You may not see them, because they are traveling the same speed as you.

Here’s a few facts:

  • MnDOT plows nearly 12,000 miles of state highways and interstates in Minnesota, which equals 30,637 lane miles. (One mile of a four-lane road equals four lane miles.). The Twin Cities Metro area has 5,500 lane miles that MnDOT maintains. Plow routes can be as long as 50 miles for one plow, so it is possible that someone might not see a plow while they are on the road.
  • MnDOT has nearly 900 snowplows, including reserve trucks that provide backup in case a snowplow needs maintenance or is damaged.
  • MnDOT has approximately 1,400 full-time snowplow drivers and 250 backup drivers. We provide extensive two-week training for new operators each year at Camp Ripley, MN and annual refresher training for our veteran plow drivers.

Why are some roads in different condition than others?

MnDOT crews are out in advance of storms preparing the roads. Snow plow crews are out plowing as soon as the snow starts and continue through the end of storms. We continue to monitor the road conditions, applying material as needed and clearing roads. Despite our large fleet of plows and drivers, it’s possible you didn’t see a plow during your travels – considering the large areas plows are covering.

Here’s a few facts:

  • MnDOT plows nearly 12,000 miles of state highways and interstates in Minnesota, which equals 30,637 lane miles. (One mile of a four-lane road equals four lane miles.). The Twin Cities Metro area has 5,500 lane miles that MnDOT maintains. Plow routes can be as long as 50 miles for one plow, so it is possible that someone might not see a plow while they are on the road.
  • MnDOT has nearly 900 snowplows, including reserve trucks that provide backup in case a snowplow needs maintenance or is damaged.
  • MnDOT has approximately 1,400 full-time snowplow drivers and 250 backup drivers. We provide extensive two-week training for new operators each year at Camp Ripley, Minn., and annual refresher training for our veteran plow drivers.