The Minnesota Department of Transportation has closed a number of roadways across the state because of severe winter weather conditions.
Interstate 90 from Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Albert Lea closed at 1 p.m. due to blizzard conditions. Interstate 35 from Albert Lea to the Iowa boarder closed at 10 a.m.
Mn/DOT districts in Mankato, Windom, Willmar and Marshall are closing all state highways in the following southern and western counties:
- Blue Earth
- Lac qui Parle
- Yellow Medicine
All snowplows in these areas will be pulled off highways and the non-interstate road closure devices (NIRCO) will be activated throughout these counties.
All highways will remain closed until further notice. Motorists should plan accordingly. When a road is closed it is illegal to travel in that area. Motorists can be fined up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. In addition, if travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.
Motorists should plan accordingly and wait until conditions improve and Mn/DOT crews can make progress to recover roadways. Mn/DOT advises that motorists can help lessen metropolitan rush hour congestion by telecommuting, altering work hours or delaying travel.
The Minnesota State Patrol has updated its statewide weather-related road incidents report. From 6 a.m. to 1:40 p.m., the report notes the following:
- Property damage crashes: 164
- Personal injury crashes: 15 (statewide), 8 (metro)
- Vehicles stalled: 37
- Vehicles off road: 296
- Vehicle spin outs: 27
Mn/DOT and the State Patrol urge motorists to stay off the roads if travel is not necessary. If you have to travel, drive according to the road conditions and give plows room to work. For more information, call 511 or visit the Mn/DOT Web site at www.mndot.gov.