Plowing Duluth's streets: The safety ins and outs

By KBJR News 1

December 2, 2013 Updated Dec 2, 2013 at 11:36 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM) Most Northlanders can agree that road safety during the winter weather is a top priority.

With snow steadily falling, plow trucks are out and salt is being scattered to ensure the roads are in the best shape for drivers.

The roads are slick but the good news is they're getting hit by a plowing trifecta.

The city, county a state all work to keep Duluth roads safe.

"We put our crews into a split mode so that we have 24 hour coverage,"
says Beth Petrowske of MnDot.

The goal? To achieve "bare lanes" or completely clear roads.
High traffic areas like I–35 take priority.

"We need to keep our commerce moving and our people moving on the freeway so that's a very top priority for us," says Petrowske.

County roads are no exception.

"Arrowhead road, Maple Grove, Haines road, we try and keep them opened up going down the road," adds Kevin McConnell, Highway Division Superintendent for St. Louis County.

Safety is the ultimate goal but even when plowing has created "bare lanes" or completely cleared roads, careful driving is still imperative, especially with plow trucks on the road.

Last year Minnesota had 60 plow truck accidents.

"The first storms are usually the worst. People still have their summer tires on, some were late putting those on, bad wiper blades..., but generally get your car ready ahead of time and basically just slow down give us room to maneuver. Those trucks are pretty big although we have a lot of mirrors on them it doesn't take much to lose you in a cloud of snow," says McConnell.

The county spends $1.2 million on salt alone for the season.

Last year the state spent about $40 million keeping our roads safe.

MnDot is encouraging drivers to utilize their 511 service to check road conditions.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware