MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seventy-two hours after the major snowstorm slammed Minnesota, road conditions have vastly improved.

“We are now rating the system as fair,” MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said.

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Gutknecht said the roads have improved dramatically since Saturday.

High winds and cold temperatures have been the biggest problems for crews trying to clean up the snow and ice.

“Salt is a temperature sensitive product. The warmer the temperature is the more effective salt is,” MnDOT metro snow and ice manager Mark Fischbach said.

MnDOT had more than 200 crews out in the metro area over the weekend, putting down salt and deicing chemicals.

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“The crews around the state have been working very hard for 24 hours a day actually to try to get them clear,” MnDOT Deputy Commissioner Sue Mulvihill said.

Originally MnDOT officials thought Monday’s commute might be tricky, but extra sunshine over the weekend sped up the clean-up.

“The sun is our friend,” Fischbach said. “Air temperature was about 16 degrees, but road surface temperature was 33 to 36 degrees.”

The added warmth and temperature sensitive salt should put the highways in fair condition for Monday — until the next storm hits.

“It’s only February, so we can expect some more things coming at us,” Mulvihill said.

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The Minnesota State Patrol says since Thursday at 2 p.m., the patrol has handled 1,183 crashes with 118 involving injuries – one fatal. There were 2,568 vehicles off the road, 75 semi jackknifes 1,253 stalled vehicles and 81 motorist assists.

Kate Raddatz