St. Paul, Minn. - Due to heavy snow and poor driving conditions, the Minnesota Department of Transportation has closed Interstate 35 from the intersection of Interstate 90 to the Iowa border until further notice. The state of Iowa has closed northbound I-35 from Ames, Iowa to the Minnesota border, and is closing other roadways in that state.
Mn/DOT districts in Mankato and Windom are warning motorists that all area state highways may be closed this afternoon due to the impending blizzard conditions. Mn/DOT districts in Marshall and Rochester are also planning for possible road closures this afternoon. North Dakota is issuing no travel advisories on its roadways and South Dakota is closing interstate roads.
Traveling on a closed road is illegal. Motorists face up to $1,000 in fines and/or 90 days in jail. If travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.
There have been a number of weather-related incidents on state roadways today, according to the State Patrol. From 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., the State Patrol has reported
- Property damage crashes: 81 total, 56 in the metro
- Personal injury crashes: 10 total, 6 in the metro
- Stalls: 20 total, 13 in the metro
- Vehicles off the road: 122 total, 50 in the metro
- Vehicle spin-outs: 3 total, 1 in the metro
The State Patrol urges drivers to do the following when driving in winter weather conditions:
- Don't drive if you don't have to.
- Always use seat belts.
- Slow down - adjust speeds to road conditions.
- Give yourself plenty of travel time - don't put your schedule before safety.
- Keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles, and leave extra room between your vehicle and snow plows or other removal equipment.
- Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.
- Avoid using cruise-control.
- Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or sleeting.
- If your vehicle stalls, stay in your vehicle and call/wait for help.
- Watch for pedestrians - especially children - who are walking on the street to avoid impassable sidewalks.
Mn/DOT urges all motorists to stay off the roads until conditions improve and Mn/DOT crews can make progress to recover roadways.
For more information, motorists can call 511 or visit Mn/DOT's website, www.mndot.gov.
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