Many highways in southeast Minnesota remain closed overnight
No Travel Advisory for other highways in region
ROCHESTER, Minn. (8 p.m.) The Minnesota Department of Transportation is recommending Sunday night that motorists continue to stay off state highways in southeast Minnesota because of dangerous winter driving conditions and closed highways.
Conditions aren’t likely to be improved by Monday morning, and it’s likely that many closed highways will remain closed into Monday. MnDOT is working to open closed highways, including Interstate 35 from Owatonna to the Iowa border and Interstate 90 from the Wisconsin border west past Albert Lea. The Iowa Department of Transportation has closed I-35 from Ames to the border and has indicated it won’t likely open until Monday.
Motorists should review MnDOT’s road conditions map for current conditions at 511mn.org. Conditions are changing and will be adjusted as MnDOT’s 101 southeast Minnesota snowplows are able to open highways and ramps. At this hour, most southeast Minnesota state highways are either closed or no travel is advised. A small cluster in Rice County are listed as completely covered with snow. Poor driving conditions exist on roads that are marked as open. MnDOT snowplows have been on the roads, but high winds aren’t expected to diminish until early Monday.
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 when air temperatures are forecasted to drop below zero on Sunday night. 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.
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.
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.