MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Transportation says it’s ready for anything Mother Nature decides to throw at us Tuesday evening.
Snow season is upon us, and as we dig out the winter boots, gas up the snow blower, and winterize our cars, MnDOT is also gearing up to ready the roads for drivers when those first flakes start to fall.
“We are outfitting some of our trucks right now with sanders and just basically getting them ready to go,” MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard said. “Right now, we’re bringing trucks back from Camp Ripley because we have crews up there, brand new hires, being taught how to plow.”
Tons of table salt has been stockpiled. Also known as sodium chloride, it’s the primary chemical dispensed by MnDOT trucks to prevent a slippery conditions during a snowy commute.
“We use it with pretreating, which is where we go out before a snow storm. If it’s gonna be a bad one, we go out there and put chemicals on the roadway. We also do pre-wetting of our salt before it gets off of the truck, before it hits the spinner and goes onto the roadway. It helps it stick to the pavement better,” Barnard said.
Having the salt ‘stick’ is MnDOT’s main objective, but air temperatures can aid or impair this outcome.
“The chemicals works best at the warmer temperatures, when we get down to about zero or a little below zero then we start losing the effectiveness of the salt, it will still work, but just not very well,” Barnard said.
Last year, 21 crashes took place between vehicles and snowplows in Minnesota.
So, when you encounter the MnDOT trucks out on the roadways, Barnard encourages drivers to slow down and give them plenty of room to work.