Difficult Road Conditions Continue in the Northland

Updated: 12/09/2013 6:24 PM
Created: 12/09/2013 5:15 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

A week after the snow began in the Northland, road crews are still hard at work.

Three days of constant snowfall and then plummeting temperatures made for a challenging week for many Northlanders. But for those trying to clear the roads it was a nightmare scenario.

"The amount of the snow, the extended duration of the snowfall, and then the plummeting temperatures. You couldn't have picked a worse series of factors that came into play," said Kelly Fleissner, the maintenance operations manager for Duluth.

Now the City of Duluth and MnDOT are dealing with the after effects, which are layers snow packed down and frozen.

"With the compacted snow that we have it is really difficult to break down and sometimes the only thing we can do is just go in and mechanically move it with our blades," said Beth Petrowske, the public affairs director for MnDOT's northeast region.

They are laying down sand for traction because it's too cold for salt.

"With the temperatures so cold, the salt isn't working so well and that ice is about as hard as pavement, so it's a really slow process trying to get that ice scraped back down," said Fleissner.

One road many Eyewitness News' viewers called or emailed about was Grand Avenue. Viewers said it was slick, bumpy, and snow covered. As part of Highway 23, MnDOT covers the western half.

"We have to do our roads in order of priority and that is based on the average daily traffic (ADT). So we are going to go after the interstates and the freeways with the higher ADT first," explained Petrowske.

It's still a long process so MnDOT and the city ask drivers once again to use caution, drive slow, and be patient.

City crews will next begin hauling snow from huge piles and clearing sidewalks.

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