MnDOT spent record $174M this past winter

After one of the snowiest winters on record in Minnesota, it’s likely no surprise that it was also particularly costly for the state.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) released its winter report on Thursday, saying it spent the most it ever has for snow and ice operations in a winter season — nearly $174 million.

The agency says that’s nearly 25% higher than the most recent five-year average.

It comes after the state saw an average of 90.2 inches, or 7½ feet, of snow this past winter season. Additionally, MnDOT says the winter severity index for the 2022-23 winter season was 164.

“This was an extremely challenging winter season, but our crews worked tirelessly to conquer each storm and keep travelers safe and moving in Minnesota,” MnDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger said. “MnDOT has more than 1,600 snowplow operators that drive 800+ plows each winter, and we are grateful to Minnesotans for their patience and safe driving during tough winter conditions. Our service and commitment to this state – and keeping your roads safe and clear – will never change.”

Altogether, MnDOT says its snowplow drivers worked more than 850,000 regular and overtime hours this past winter, which is more than 100,000 more than the previous winter season. The department also used more liquid materials on highways than ever before, adding up to over 14 million gallons of materials.

“Liquids are changing the game when it comes to snow and ice operations. By adding liquid to rock salt as we apply it to the road, it activates that salt faster and helps the material stay in the driving lane. That helps us clear roads faster, and we need less materials to achieve those results,” said Jed Falgren, a MnDOT state maintenance engineer.

The report shows that MnDOT also used more than 260 tons of salt, which is more than 70 tons above the 2021-22 season, more than 36 tons of sand, which is more than seven tons above the prior year and had more winter events than the previous year.

Click here for more information on the winter report.