Many highways in Southeast Minnesota closed; No Travel Advisory for other highways in region
ROCHESTER, Minn. (10:45 a.m.) Many state highways in southeast Minnesota are closed at this hour Sunday morning because of impassable roads, low visibility and dangerous driving conditions, and motorists should remain off the highways to avoid getting stuck according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Motorists should review MnDOT’s road conditions map for current conditions at 511mn.org. Conditions are changing and will be adjusted as snowplows are able to open highways and ramps. Even then, travel is not advised. Poor driving conditions exist on roads that are marked as open. MnDOT snowplows have been on the roads, but high winds diminish the work they’re able to do.
MnDOT reminds motorists that Interstate 35 is closed from Owatonna to the Iowa border. The Iowa Department of Transportation has closed I-35 from Ames to the border. Additionally, Interstate 90 is closed from Dexter to the west.
Many other highways are marked as No Travel Advised. Motorists should not be on the highways. If they become stuck, demand for tow trucks is very high and a lengthy waiting time is expected. MnDOT snowplows aren’t able to pull vehicles out and will continue to plow the roads to improve public safety. MnDOT has assisted ambulance transports to Rochester since the early-morning hours.
Road closure devices may include barricades, flashing lights or gates lowered across the roadway. They inform motorists the road is not safe for travel. Their only option is to turn around and get off the road quickly. The decision to close a highway is made by MnDOT, with input from local law enforcement and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Advisories will be lifted when conditions improve, but improvements are expected to take time. More highways could be added to the advisory as conditions worsen across the region. Check MnDOT’s road conditions map for all advisories at 511mn.org
The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for many counties in southeast Minnesota that extends into Sunday evening. The weather service says the combination of heavy snow and wind gusts to 50 mph could make it deadly if precautions aren’t taken. Heavy snow and winds will result in severe impacts to travel for many motorists into Sunday.
MnDOT snowplow operators will do their part to make highways safe and motorists should remember to:
- Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions
- Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud
- Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions
- Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt
- Turn off the cruise control
- Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip
- Don’t drive distracted
- Check MnDOT’s road conditions map at 511mn.org
To learn more about road conditions, highway construction and other southeast Minnesota MnDOT news, join the MnDOT Southeast Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/MnDOTsoutheast.
For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.