Roads remain slippery in the region

Published 9:18 am Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Even though the streets of Albert Lea and roads around Freeborn County are open, drivers are strongly urged to proceed with caution as all roads remain slippery.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation issued a warning on Monday that roads across southern Minnesota will remain under hazardous driving conditions through mid-week when temperatures are expected to rise.

Because of the extremely cold temperatures, MnDOT crews have restricted the use of chemicals, rendering them ineffective.

Freeborn County Engineer Susan Miller said salt doesn’t work well under the 20-degree mark.

“We are applying sand at critical areas only and intersections, but not a lot of chemicals because they would simply blow off,” she said.

Miller said although the county roads have been cleared, they remain snow-packed and slippery. She said warmer temperatures will be key in being able to scrape much of the ice and snow packed from the roads.

She urges drivers to simply slow down and drive safe.

Albert Lea City Engineer Steven Jahnke said drivers should look out for packed snow on the roadway.

Jahnke said crews have been applying a mixture of sand and salt to the city streets. He cautioned drivers to be careful as they approach intersections and corners because high drifts cause limited visibility.

City street crews have been out at 2 a.m. each morning since the blizzard hit on Saturday, attempting to clear the roads of snow. County crews have hit the road at 5 a.m. daily.

Snow in the downtown area was plowed into windrows, which city crews have been hauling to the Blazing Star landing.

Jahnke said when crews remove snow from the south end of town, the snow is hauled to a site on West Ninth Street, and when working on the north end of town, snow is hauled to a couple of sites near the Albert Lea Municipal Airport.

Jahnke expected to have parking lots cleaned out and cleared early Tuesday morning.

Miller would also like to remind people not to blow snow back into the roads when clearing out driveways, as this creates hazardous conditions for other drivers.

MnDOT will continue to do cleanup work along state and federal roads, including snow removal from shoulders, ramps and bridges.

Safe driving practices

If you must travel, MnDOT reminds motorists to follow safe winter driving practices, including:

• Always wear your seat belt.

• Drive slowly on bridges, ramps and overpasses.

• Use a safe speed for winter driving conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit.

• Keep a safe stopping distance from the vehicle in front of you.

• Keep both hands on the steering wheel, your eyes on the road and your attention on your driving.

• If you go into the ditch, do not get out of your vehicle. Call for help.

For updated information about road conditions, call 511 or click on www.511mn.org.