MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ever hear the saying there are two seasons in Minnesota?

“Yes,” Marsha Johnston of Minneapolis said. “There’s winter and there’s road construction.”

But over the past few decades there have been more road, ramp and bridge closures throughout the winter.

So, is Minnesota’s road construction season all-year round?

“Depending on what we’re doing it could be all-year round if the temperatures don’t get too extremely cold,” MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard said.

He says new technologies and products, like better concrete, have made it easier to work in the winter.

MnDOT has always had the capacity to work on projects as long as the concrete can be heated up, but it’s generally too cost prohibitive to try to heat the ground enough to allow the concrete to cure.

That’s why there’s little construction work on roads in the winter.

But crews can heat bridges more easily than roads, which is why people should expect lots of winter construction work on bridges.

More than 90 percent of the road construction does happen in the summer, but workers can demolish bridges and roads, repair potholes, test soils, put up steel beams and do guardrail and sign repair in the cold weather.

Only when the temperatures dip way below zero do crews take a break.

“Last week was a little extreme,” Barnard said. “We did knock off a few days because it was just way too cold for anybody to be out working.”

He says it’s a safety issue at that point.

Heather Brown

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