MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – It was a dangerous start to Friday for many motorists across the state.
A couple inches of snow fell overnight, causing all sorts of problems for commuters on the state’s highways and secondary roads. The timing of the snow made it difficult for snowplows to get out and get roads pretreated to try and limit crashes.
The Minnesota State Patrol said from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m., there were 299 crashes across the state and one confirmed fatal crash on Highway 13 just south of Interstate 494 in Eagan.
The Minnesota State Patrol says a northbound vehicle lost control and slid into the southbound lanes where it was broadsided by an oncoming minivan on Highway 13 in Eagan, just south of Interstate 494, around 8 a.m.
The Patrol identifies the victim as 24-year-old Taya N. Clifford, of Eagan. The other driver suffered minor injuries.
Authorities say of the other crashes, 43 involved injuries. There were also 219 vehicles that went off the road or spun out. Many commuters spent double their normal time Friday morning to get to their destination.
As of 8:15 a.m. Metro Transit reported that, of the 516 buses on 110 routes, roughly 60 percent were running on time. Among those running late, there was an average delay of 8 minutes. The Hiawatha light rail and Northstar lines were running on schedule.
MnDOT says the solution they typically use to treat the roads should work great in temperatures like Friday’s.
To get out ahead of the snow, crews have been busy treating the roads and snowplows have been out since about midnight. Plow drivers will be working 12 hour shifts until the main roads are clear.
What’s helping them out this time is that it’s all snow so far, without the extra freezing rain, and it’s expected to stay that way.
But what isn’t helping MnDOT is that this storm is hitting during the morning commute.
“We’ve been getting more of our snowstorms on weekends, which has helped out — we don’t have as much traffic out there,” said MNDOT spokesperson Kent Barnard. “We did have the bad slushy wet snow in December, but the last storms haven’t been quite so bad, we haven’t got the compaction or the running on the roadways, which is very much a plus.”
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