Snow plows look ahead to heavier round of snow

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(ABC 6 News) – More than 100 MnDOT plows are working around the clock across southeast Minnesota’s 11-county region to keep roads clear and safe.

Mike Dougherty with the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s District 6 says drivers are working in 12-hour shifts. From midnight to noon, and from noon to midnight. In comparison, for lighter snow events, all plows are still out but they are not in action around the clock. It makes a difference when crews know about a big storm ahead of time.

“Everybody knew it was coming,” said Dougherty.

“They could prepare, kind of get ready. They knew they’d be called in and that’s what they’re doing. They’re professionals, this is what they’re trained for.

“They take it as kind of a professional challenge, But it is also kind of wearing and exhausting the longer you get into these longer, kind of heavy-duty snowstorms.”

MnDOT will bring out the ‘tow plow.’ That plow is a larger plow and is brought out for heavier storms. It’s capable of clearing multiple lanes at once including Highway 52. Wednesday morning, there were a few spin-outs but Dougherty said the clean-up was a tune-up for Wednesday night’s weather.

With the heavier snow coming, it’s possible plows could be taken off the road. Although, it is something that happens rarely.

“Our job is about keeping the highways open. We always review what are the conditions. If they are such that our snow plows are just not making any good headway. If they’re at risk, if they’re starting to slip off the road, that’s not good. So they make that assessment as we go along.”

Dougherty said that an assessment will be made depending on factors like how much the snow is blowing. Even then, plows would be off the road as little as possible. But if they aren’t on the road, neither should you.