Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Performance Measures

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Snow Fences


About the measures

Snow fences trap snow by causing it to pile up before it reaches a road, which increases safety. They are measured by the total number of miles of snow fences comprised of structural (e.g., composite rails snow fences), living (e.g., trees and shrubs), or vegetative (e.g., corn rows or hale bales) fences on Minnesota roadways. Snow fences play a key role in winter maintenance productivity and roadway safety by helping to limit blowing snow across Minnesota roads. For maintenance, this is helpful where high winds make chloride use ineffective. For roadway safety, the snow fences improve driver visibility, reduce icy roads, and serve as visual clues.

Recent trends

In 2022, there were 116 miles of long-term snow fences (i.e., combination of structural and living snow fencing) and 41 miles of temporary snow fences (i.e., standing corn rows, stacked hay bales, or four-foot-tall seasonal snow fencing) across Minnesota (Figure 11). Miles of structural snow fences have increased each year since 2018 while temporary snow fence totals have fluctuated year-to-year.

Where we want to go

Snow fences provide a variety of environmental, safety, and economic benefits by keeping roads clear of snow. To improve safety and mobility for people traveling on roadways, MnDOT’s snow fence program partners with landowners to install snow fences in open areas along state highways.