Minnesota Department of Transportation

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August 4, 2021

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2020-21 winter costs total $116 million

Crews adapted to new winter operations safety protocols during COVID-19 pandemic

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

“From daily health screenings and mask-wearing to new cleaning and safety practices, we looked at every aspect of our snow and ice operations to help keep our employees safe at work and all Minnesotans safe on the roads,” said MnDOT State Maintenance Engineer Steve Lund. “I’m grateful to all of our tireless MnDOT employees for rising to the challenges of the past year, proving that we can adjust to drastic changes and still succeed.” 

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 time after 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. The eight winning snowplow names, their locations, and total votes can be found at mndot.gov/nameasnowplow.

The MnDOT 2020-21 Winter Maintenance Report and previous reports are available on the MnDOT Maintenance website.