According to a new report, the Minnesota Department of Transportation spent nearly $116 million dollars to clear roads during the 2020-2021 winter season.
[Above photo by the Minnesota DOT]
This annual report breaks down Minnesota DOT’s fiscal year costs, winter severity, snow totals, and other factors – with the data segmented across the agency’s eight districts. It also included the costs of health screening, facemasks, as well as new cleaning and safety practices to protect winter maintenance crews from COVID-19.
The report said statewide snowfall across Minnesota during the 2020-2021 winter season averaged 53 inches, with various winter storm events experienced during the season creating a statewide “Winter Severity Index” score of 86 (out of 100).
The Winter Severity Index compares nine factors that affect snow and ice removal, including temperature, hours of snowfall, blowing snow and precipitation type.
[To learn more about snow and ice fighting tactics, check out the winter operations podcast put together by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Snow and Ice Pooled Fund Cooperative Program, known as “SICOP.”]
With fewer and less severe winter events, the Minnesota DOT said it used less road salt and sand during the 2020-2021 winter season compared to previous years. Crews continue to see success using chemical applications – such as brine – to clear roads. Meanwhile, the agency exceeded bare lane target goals for all road classifications, achieving bare lane driving conditions 87 percent of the time after a snow event.
“From daily health screenings and mask-wearing to new cleaning and safety practices, we looked at every aspect of our snow and ice operations to help keep our employees safe at work and all Minnesotans safe on the roads,” noted Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer for the Minnesota DOT, in a statement.
“I’m grateful to all of our tireless employees for rising to the challenges of the past year, proving that we can adjust to drastic changes and still succeed,” he added.