The Minnesota Department of Transportation would normally already be busy with keeping the roads safe during winter weather, but a warmer-than-average start to December has given crews a chance get more work done.
Minnesota has been seeing high temperatures 5-15 degrees above the average since December began. MnDOT said it’s going to take advantage of the warmer weather get done work it normally can’t this time of the year — such as crack sealing, cutting trees and brush, repairing culverts, mowing grass and repairing road shoulders.
“When we experience unseasonable weather like this, we’re able to put our forces out on the roads for maintenance work that will help our highways stay in good shape for a longer period of time,” MnDOT maintenance superintendent Tim Zierden said
MnDOT is also using the weather as a chance to repair and tune snowplows and get adequately prepared when the real winter weather hits. However, the state has already seen some snow this year, and work crews are able to start early repairs on some of the damage done when snowstorms hit in November. The storms caused drivers to lose control and hit guardrails, fences and road signs.
“Snow events often bring crashes that damage guardrails and signs, so we when we catch a break in the weather like this, we can get more repairs and replacements done, which improves safety on the roadways,” said Don Nosbisch, another maintenance superintendent for MnDOT.