Snowplow 101 with the Minnesota Department of Transportation

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 3:05 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2023 at 4:24 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – In Southeast Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of has 102 snowplows on the road.

Snowplows by the numbers:

  • 70,000 pounds. Fully loaded with salt, a snowplow can weigh 35 tons
  • 12 tons of salt carried
  • 100 gallons of brine
  • 3 blades are on a snowplow
  • Front
  • Wing
  • Undercarriage
  • 39 miles is the average length of a snowplow route in SE Minnesota

Other tools:

  • Team plowing: Used on Hwy 52 through Rochester. An efficient way to clear 3-4 lanes of traffic during heavy snow. The downside is it requires 5-6 plows at times, which temporarily detracts from other state highways near Rochester.
  • Tow plow: Four tow plows used in southeast Minnesota. Attached to hitch on snowplow that allows it to cover an additional lane or about 2 ½ lanes total.
  • Ice breaker: Two used in Southeast Minnesota. Used when compaction (an icy, rough surface that often bonds to the pavement) is difficult to remove and weather makes it challenging to use other methods
  • Snowblower: a monster size snowblower that can be used during heavy drifting snow events when a snowplow can’t bust through a drift.

Safety messages:

  • Slow down when you spot any of this equipment in use on the roads
  • Keep your headlights on at all times of day
  • Give them room to work
  • If following, stay back at least 10 vehicle lengths.

Snowplow naming contest continues:

  • Keep an eye out in the next few weeks for a list of 50 finalist names for snowplows for MnDOT. From that list, you’ll be able to go online and vote for 8. Once voting closes, they’ll compile the totals and determine where each of the 8 will be placed across MnDOT’s 8 districts, including our District 6 in southeast Minnesota. So look for the class of 2023 in February.