Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

News Release

Jan. 11, 2016

Orange barrels on a highway

Light snow to create slick road conditions; motorists asked to reduce driving speeds


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation warns motorists that roads may become slick during the evening commute as light snow is expected to fall in the north central and central parts of the state, including the Twin Cities Metro area. Even though snowfall amounts will be less than an inch, the single-digit temperatures create conditions for icy conditions. MnDOT is asking motorists to slow down their speeds on all types of roads.

In the Twin Cities Metro area, MnDOT is pretreating bridges, ramps, tunnels, underpasses and near lakes and rivers where black ice tends to develop more frequently. In Greater Minnesota, crews will be out treating roads as necessary.

Rock salt, which is normally used on roads, is less effective below 15 degrees, so pretreating the roads with liquid calcium chloride works better by lowering the freezing temperature of the liquid brine. This prevents precipitation from bonding to the road surface. The liquid calcium chloride brine also contains rust and corrosion inhibitors.

Sand may also be used and is most effective in low temperatures when applied around curves to provide traction. Sand does not melt snow so it is not used a salt alternative.

There are six bridges on the state system in the state that have anti-icing systems -- the Interstate 35E bridge over the Minnesota River, the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis and the Hastings Bridge. The anti-icing systems use potassium chloride, which will periodically be sprayed in the driving lanes on the bridges.

MnDOT also warns motorists that in cold temperatures, black ice may form. Black ice creates the appearance of a wet surface, but it is actually a thin, clear layer of ice on roads and bridges. Black ice forms when melting snow refreezes or when rain, drizzle, mist or fog freezes. It is most common at night and very early morning when it is dark and temperatures are lowest. 

Motorists should remember to:

  • Slow down on bridges, overpasses and tunnels and on all roads in the early morning when the air temperature rises faster than the pavement temperature.
  • Use a safe speed for winter driving conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit.
  • Keep a safe stopping distance from the vehicle in front of them.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road, and stay alert.


For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone. For updated information on road conditions, visit www.511mn.org or call 511.



To learn more about funding Minnesota’s transportation system visit Get Connected at www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected