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MnDOT: Winter road efforts cost $116 million

The Minnesota Department of Transportation spent nearly $116 million to clear roads during the 2020-21 winter season, according to a new MnDOT Winter Maintenance Report released Wednesday.

The annual report breaks down fiscal year costs, winter severity, snow totals and other factors. Statistics are separated by each of MnDOT’s eight districts to show impacts across the state.

The statewide snowfall average was 53 inches during the 2020-21 winter season. The various winter events created a statewide Winter Severity Index score of 86, the lowest index score in the past five years. The Winter Severity Index compares nine factors that affect snow and ice removal, including temperature, hours of snowfall, blowing snow and precipitation type.

With fewer and less severe winter events, MnDOT used less road salt and sand during the 2020-21 winter season compared to previous years. Crews continue to see success using chemical applications, like brine, to clear roads. The agency also exceeded bare lane target goals for all road classifications, achieving bare lane driving conditions 87% of the timeafter a snow event.

Minnesotans this year also helped name eight MnDOT snowplows during the 2020-21 winter season, thanks to a public outreach campaign to “Name a Snowplow.” Thousands of suggestions were submitted, MnDOT staff narrowed that list to 50 names and more than 120,000 people voted to select the winning names.

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