MnDOT: Heavy snow may slow plows, afternoon commute

Snow plows at work
A snow plow near Winona in a file photo.
Joe Ahlquist/Winona Daily News via AP

The combination of heavy snow and traffic could slow down snowplow trucks during the Twin Cities afternoon commute.

"Snow plows can only move as fast as the traffic is moving," Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said Thursday morning. "And if the snow is coming down at a really quick rate, it just makes it that much more of a challenge."

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MnDOT expects to send out a full crew of snowplows -- 130 to 180 trucks -- in the metro, he added. The department has more than 800 plow trucks across Minnesota, but most will be needed in the eastern part of the state where the heaviest snowfall is expected.

Forecasts show southeastern Minnesota, including Rochester, could be hit harder than the metro.

"In the southeastern part of the state, it looks like snowfall amounts will be pretty big there. And crews down there are ready, they were, like everybody else, prepping yesterday, watching the weather, and getting their crews set up the best that they can," Gutknecht said.

Blowing snow and heavy winds are also expected, according the National Weather Service.

If visibility becomes dangerous and conditions reach the point where snow plow operators can't see to operate the plow, MnDOT could pull the plows off and close roads, Gutknecht said.

Gutknecht said even though MnDOT plow operators will be doing their best to get the snow off the roads, the safest bet is to decrease driving speeds.

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