MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Planning and preparation for the Monday snow storm started well before the first flakes started falling in southern Minnesota.
“We’re beefing up all the trucks, putting on the front plows and things like that,” said Mike Kennedy, the director of transportation and maintenance repair for Minneapolis Public Works.
In Minneapolis, crews spent the day getting plows ready to clear a path for drivers by Tuesday morning.
“We’ve got about 1,000 miles of streets,” Kennedy said. “We’ll also plow and miles of trails, bike lanes and sidewalks.”
MnDOT is making similar winter weather preparations on a much larger scale.
“We will clean up whatever mother nature dishes us,” said MnDOT’s Scott McBride.
Some 800 plow drivers will work 12-hour shifts until the snow stops falling. They’ll clear 12,000 miles of state roads, and since each road has at least two to three lanes, it ultimately equals more than 30,000 lane miles for the plows to clear.
“Even though we are out in full force, there will be snow and ice covered roads,” McBride said.
Slippery conditions will ultimately lead to accidents, possibly in the hundreds.
“On a typical day, we respond to about 50 crashes, but in a 24-hour period, last year, where we saw heavy snowfall, we responded to over 800,” said Lt. Tiffani Nielsen of the Minnesota State Patrol.
Officials are asking drivers to avoid unnecessary travel. Those who do decide to venture out should prepare for the risk of winter driving.
“Be prepared that if you go into the ditch or off the road, you might be there for a period of time, beyond a normal period, just because of the resources maximized,” Nielsen said.
She also reminded drivers to have their winter survival kit with water, food and warm clothing in their vehicle.
MnDOT is also reminding drivers to give the plows space to work.