When extreme snowfall and loss of visibility make driving dangerous, we may need to close roads for the safety of both motorists and snowplow operators.
We only close roads in extreme blizzard, whiteout conditions—when it isn't even safe for our drivers to be out. The intent is to keep the motorists in towns that can accommodate them.
What do the road closure devices look like?
Road closure devices may include barricades, flashing lights or gates lowered across the roadway. They inform motorists the road is not safe for travel. Their only option is to turn around and get off the road quickly.
Who decides to close highways?
The decision to close a highway is made by MnDOT staff, with input from local law enforcement and the Department of Public Safety. MnDOT makes every effort to give as much advanced warning as possible when the roads need to be closed.
How will MnDOT notify motorists of road closures in rural areas?
In addition to closed gates and other devices, MnDOT uses www.511mn.org and news media to issue road-closing notices.
Use caution and avoid fines
Motorists may risk danger and a fine if they ignore road-closing devices.
Benefits of the road closure system
Unmistakable notice that the road is closed
Reduction in number of accidents and stranded vehicles
Reduction in delays for motorists once the storm is over due to fewer stranded vehicles
Ability to clear the roadways faster after the storm