MnDOT looks ahead to clear roads following winter storm

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(ABC 6 News) – Keeping the roads clear is no easy task during a storm and MnDOT plows have been hard at work to keep them as clear as they can be.

ABC 6 News Good Morning reporter Sydney Zatz drove with MnDOT transportation generalist David Drache. She joined him on a tow plow. The plow has a blade to clear the roads in front and then a blade to clear the roads next to it. This specific type of plow is brought out for bigger storms. Thursday morning it led a gang plow, or a team plow, with several plows behind it as it cleared Highway 52 all the way to 63.

“We can plow both lanes of a two-lane highway,” Drache explained.

“We’ll be dealing with this snowstorm for probably the next week. Either hauling snow out or constantly plowing if the wind picks up.”

Drache said the storm before Christmas was worse than this one because of the wind.

More than 100 plows are working around the clock in 12-hour shifts and they have been since Monday. Mike Dougherty with the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 6 says with a big change in snowfall speed, it creates issues for plow drivers. Because one area they cleared might need to be plowed over and over again. And that clearing the snow, is a completely different process than deicing the roads.

“Temperatures are starting to drop as well. So we’re going to be trying to get salt on the road,” said Dougherty.

“Get that ground in and hopefully scrape up so we can back to bare pavement. But they’re probably looking at doing these 12-hour shifts around the clock until probably Saturday.”

Drivers use brine which is a salt-water mix. In the end, it’s less salt and more effective because it has a lower freeze point. In addition, wherever it’s sprayed, it stays.

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