Updates on winter storm from MN state patrol, MNDOT

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(ABC 6 News) – According to the Minnesota State Patrol: from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday there were 68 crashes throughout the state. Four crashes included injuries, but 0 were serious or fatal. There were 26 vehicles spun off the roads.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation spent the week preparing for the potentially historic winter storm by pretreating the roads with a salty brine. Plow drivers focus on problem areas such as on and off ramps for highways and bridges.

MnDOT District 6 Representative Mike Dougherty said Tuesday afternoon that they will not be using salt during the storm, however, because that could cause compacted snow to turn into ice. He said roads were already getting tricky just hours into the storm.

“The visibility was very limited as vehicles were stirring up this snow. It’s a lighter snow, so it will billow,” Dougherty said.

Tuesday night MNDOT had 102 snowplows out on the roads across Southeast Minnesota. Drivers are working 12-hour shifts.

The Department of Transportation is advising people to avoid travel if at all possible, explaining that if emergency crews get overwhelmed by people getting stuck in ditches, it could lead to delayed response times for other emergencies.

“Remember it’s not just about you sliding in the ditch. If you do that, then that takes up resources. Don’t just think about yourself and your own trip, but think about the impact on everyone else,” said Dougherty.

Dougherty also mentioned that though the storm ends Thursday, his crews could be cleaning up well into the weekend.