If it seems like the roads in the Northland have been extraordinarily slippery this winter - you're probably correct.  A so-called "perfect storm" of weather conditions - alternating cold and snow - have left our highways and side streets a virtual skating rink of black ice so far.

And even though it may not seem like it, it's not for a lack of effort from road crews with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  According to MNDOT, this winter has been especially challenging.  Work crews were deployed 24 of the 31 days in December - fighting three successive storms that dumped snow and ice in our area.  In between the snow, the temperatures dipped well-below zero.  That combination is a tough one to combat as salt and sand is less effective when the thermometer dips.  Add in the compaction that happens when vehicles drive over the snow and the effect that road treatments have is limited.

Perry Collins - the Operations Engineer for MNDOT District 1 asks for patience and understanding from commuters.  He says "...[W]e won't stop until we're done".

Officials do have some advice for drivers when the roads get bad.  They include:

  • Drive slowly on bridges, overpasses and tunnels.
  • Use a safe speed regardless of the posted speed.
  • Keep a safe stopping distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel, your eyes on the road, and stay alert.