DULUTH,MN– The white stuff can mean white knuckle driving on Minnesota roads.
Long-time Duluth resident Scott Paulson says, “It’s pretty hard to keep our roads nice with all the cold weather.”
Hard work the Minnesota Department of Transportation hopes will be made easier in our region this year.
That’s thanks to two new pieces of equipment aimed at clearing the roads faster and making them safer.
MnDOT Maintenance Superintendent Chris Cheney says, “Well the icebreakers are a large cylindrical attachment with teeth or spikes coming out of them. And what it does is it rolls along over compacted ice and snow.”
Punching holes in the ice along the way which makes it easier for it to melt and be swept off the roads.
“We can get it down thinner. Ultimately it helps us because we use a lot less salt. Which impacts not only our economy but the environment,” says Cheney.
In past years, MnDOT officials say they had to share the ice breakers with other districts from all across the state.
This year there are three icebreakers for the whole Duluth district which includes the Iron Range, the North Shore, and beyond.
Cheney says, “Like the bigger snowstorms, all of the entire districts is going to be impacted, they’ll be a lot of compaction in a lot of areas. So now we’ll be able to have icebreakers available within those areas.”
MnDOT officials say the icebreakers won’t damage the roads.
They’re also asking you to be extra careful when the plows are out.
If you’re driving behind a plow truck if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you
“And again the slower you go behind, the material coming out the better it makes it work. The faster we can clear the roads up. So yeah, stay back, stay alive,” says Cheney.
MnDOT officials say you should turn your lights on, stay back, and go slow