Winds and Ice Causing Dangerous Commute in Western Minn., Metro

Updated: 02/26/2014 11:06 PM By: Brandi Powell

Road crews are plugging along despite the heavy winds and icy roads.

KSTP talked with the state, counties and cities.

Winds are 28 mph in the Twin Cities. That might sound fast, but that's nothing, compared to people living in northwestern Minnesota, who are dealing with 45 mph winds. Those are the types of winds headed to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Ground blizzard conditions, close to the Twin Cities, are making the roads tough to drive on. "I've had a few people almost run into me," said Roseville resident Terry Huiras. "Pretty close calls, but luckily my car is still intact."

Huiras takes both the side roads and highways to get to and from work and school. "I leave about 15 minutes earlier," Huiras said.

Even though the snow is not falling, once the wind hits all of the packed snow, driving conditions are still dangerous with the icy roads. "It could obscure your vision of the roadways and being able to see anything icy," said Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesperson Kent Barnard. "The other thing is, depending on how windy it gets out here, it can affect the way your vehicle handles, too."

Wednesday morning in Minneapolis, a school bus carrying 29 students slid into two cars. This happened near Dowling Avenue North and 6th Street North. The cars were totaled. The front arm of the bus was sheared off. Nobody was hurt.

And on the 280 Southbound, there was an accident early Wednesday afternoon near Como Avenue.

The challenge for MnDOT crews now is to clear the roads.

"We need to be able to get the snow out of those areas and safely off the roadways so, when, when and if we get more snow, we have a place for that snow to be plowed too," Barnard said,

As for the cities and counties:

Mike Kennedy with the City of Minneapolis described some of the icy roads as "bullet proof." City crews plan to scrape where they can and put down sand for traction.

In St. Paul, spokeswoman Kari Spreeman said the main streets will be treated with both sand and salt.

Michael Legg with Carver County said crews will be using a special salt with Magnesium Chloride. It's more expensive, but works in temperatures as low as five below zero.