MnDOT begins annual spring road cleaning

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Motorists on some of southeastern Minnesota’s busiest highways will likely see a slow moving group of Minnesota Department of Transportation trucks this spring along the shoulder of the road. Give them room. They’re clearing the path to make traveling safer.

MnDOT uses a truck outfitted with an eight-foot wide magnet to drive slowly along the road shoulders to pick up nails, screws, wire and other metal that can cause flat tires and be hazardous to vehicles.

It’s part of the annual spring cleaning that MnDOT conducts on state highways to get ready for summer travel and construction season. Shoulders are also swept and bridges are flushed with fresh water to clear the remnants of winter’s snow and salt treatment.

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Work has occurred or is planned on Interstates 35 and 90, Highways 3, 14, 19, 52, 56 and 61.

The magnet effort helps clear the shoulders for motorists, but also aids MnDOT vehicles, which are often doing work that requires driving along the road shoulders.

The truck moves at approximately 5 to 10 mph and is followed by warning trucks to make sure motorists use another lane to give the crews a safe cushion of space. Crews will often be able to fill a 5-gallon pail with various metal objects plucked by the magnet, including nails, screws and springs.

MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones:

• Stay alert

• Watch for signs, equipment and workers

• Minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking

• Avoid tailgating

• Follow posted speed limits and directional signs

• Stay in one lane while driving through a work zone

For real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota, visit or get the free smartphone app at Google Play or the App Store.

Learn more about Minnesota’s investment in and maintenance of the state’s transportation system at MnDOT’s Get Connected site