Need some winter wheels? MnDOT's got giant snowplows for sale

Now for sale: Some sweet, orange rides with big beds. Listen, when you drive by in one of these babies, everyone will move to the right and stay back to stay alive.

Snowplows. We’re talking about snowplows.

A photo of a plowtruck.
A 2004 Sterling LT9511 plow truck up for auction from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Courtesy of Minnesota Department of Transportation

Eight Minnesota Department of Transportation plows are on the auction block this month with dozens more identified by the agency for future sales.

Bids on a 2004 Sterling model listed in “good” condition with 237,848 (mostly highway) miles were due to close Friday. As of midday Thursday, the top bid was $10,520. (Update: It went for more than $26,150 after a "flurry" of late bidding.)

Several others will go in online auctions run by the state between now and the end of October.

“There are also another 40 snowplows identified to sell, and those will be added to the auction list once their replacements become available,” said Anne Meyer, a MnDOT spokesperson.

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A pair sold last week. One fetched nearly $32,000 and the other just shy of $18,000. Proceeds, minus a commission fee, go back to the agency, according to state law.  

For reference, a new tandem-axle snowplow goes for about $280,000. 

It’s part of a cyclical process of fleet renewal for a department responsible for clearing more than 30,000 lane miles of snow, ice and that dreaded wintry mix.

The state has an active fleet of 862 plows, which tend to have a life cycle of about 14 years.

Total plowing costs for the state have topped $120 million in recent winters.

It all depends on how bad the season is. The average snowfall in Minnesota approached 72 inches during 2019-2020 winter — the most recent for which MnDOT did a winter maintenance report. The 10-year average measured about 62 inches, but it has been deeper to the north.

The plows are sold “as is, where is,” meaning bidders who manage to scrape up one of the snow-clearing monsters have to go to the MnDOT garage where it is presently housed — from Arden Hills to Duluth to St. Cloud. 

All sales are final.