Minnesota Department of Transportation

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News releases

Dec. 13, 2023

Latest news releases

Watch for prescribed burns Dec. 14-15 on Hwy 218 north of Blooming Prairie

BLOOMING PRAIRIE, Minn. — Motorists on Highway 218 between Blooming Prairie and Owatonna may see smoke from crews conducting a prescribed burn on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 14-15, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Motorists will encounter signs as they approach the burn area warning of the potential of smoke in the Bixby and Pratt areas in Steele County. Motorists should be attentive, slow down and watch for the burn crews, who are monitoring these efforts. Prescribed burns are scheduled during optimal weather conditions to ensure safety and effectiveness. 

MnDOT performs the prescribed burning of grassland vegetation along many roadsides, which provides for optimal vegetation health. Healthy roadside vegetation provides safer clear zones, stabilizes soil, conveys runoff and treats stormwater runoff.  Healthy roadside vegetation also provides additional benefits such as preserving populations of rare species and making roadsides more attractive. Fire also promotes tall native grasses and forbs that trap blowing snow and prevent it from drifting across the road. Native prairie vegetation is planted along highway right of way to reduce the amount of mowing needed. 

Drivers traveling too fast and not paying attention are the main causes of work zone crashes. Follow these safe driving tips:

  • Obey posted speed limits. The fine for speeding in a work zone is $300.
  • Drive undistracted. Avoid using phones, mobile devices, adjusting the radio – even eating – while in work zones.
  • Move over. Give workers room to safely complete their work.
  • Be patient. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Avoid making unnecessary lane changes.
  • Never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.
  • Expect work zones to constantly change. Day to day you could experience lane shifts, closures, narrower lanes, moving workers and vehicles.