Metro Roads Could Be Ice Covered For Days

Posted at: 02/22/2014 10:01 AM

Photo: Photo: MGN Online

(KSTP) - It's another day of snow packed, icy roads across the metro Saturday from Thursday's snow storm. Officials say it may be a week until the roads are clear.

MnDOT says most roads across the metro and southern Minnesota are difficult to drive. MnDOT is advising no travel on a few roads near Rochester. KSTP.com meteorologist Jonathan Yuhas said the 'Hassle Factor' will be an 8 out of 10 for the entire weekend.

MnDOT had crews on the road before the rain began Thursday to pre-treat. But all the snow and ice is now compressed and it's slippery. "What MnDOT is doing now is we're getting out there and putting down salt. Salt is going to be what makes this work," Kevin Guknecht of MnDOT said. 

MnDOT says, the salt they use works great when it's 20 degrees and above. But when the temperature dips below 20 this is when they start having some problems. Jonathan says, the only thing that's going to help is the sun.

Jonathan says the good news is, sunshine is in the forecast for Saturday. The bad news is, once the sun goes down all that melting is going to only refreeze.

He said roads may not completely improve until next weekend due to the up coming cold temperatures and more snow on the way for Monday.

The commute for the entire day Friday, for those who braved the roads, was another one that tested patience.

This was an especially grueling snow event for semi-truck drivers.  According to a spokesperson for the Minnesota State Patrol, they've responded to at least 62 truck jack knives in a 24-hour period, which is an unusually high amount. The number will grow higher.

Westbound Interstate 94, outside the tunnel in Minneapolis, was backed up Friday night around 9 p.m. At one point, about five semis were stuck on the side of the road, which caused a major back up. It happened near Groveland Avenue, which is just west of 35W

During rush hour Friday, both east and westbound transition ramps from Highway 62 to Highway 100 North were closed, because of stuck semis on the ramps. Traffic was backed up for miles on the Crosstown.

The problem trucks were facing is  that sheet of ice on the roads. The trucks are so big and heavy if they stop on a ramp or incline they can't get going again.  On Friday morning, drivers were forced to find their way around the big rigs.

"I just tried to go up a ramp onto 280, but a truck was blocking the way....and now I'm stuck," Josh Nordeen from Plymouth said.

Some Minnesotans are still digging out from the latest blast of winter.

While the official snow total in the Twin Cities was 9.9 inches, northeastern Minnesota saw far more. The National Weather Service reported 14.5 inches in Alborn, 13 inches in Twig and 11 inches in Proctor.
National Weather Service chief meteorologist Dan Luna in Chanhassen says the 55.5 inches total accumulation so far this year in the Twin Cities is 16.2 inches above normal.