BEMIDJI -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds the public that it is illegal to deposit snow on or next to a public highway or street.
Minnesota law and many local ordinances prohibit the plowing, blowing, shoveling or otherwise placing of snow onto public roadways. This includes the ditch and right of way area along the roadside. Pushing snow on public roadways becomes an increasing issue with each snow storm during the winter because snow piles become larger and more difficult to manage, a release said.
“Placing snow on or near a public road creates hazards, including drainage problems, drifting, sight obstruction and unsafe access,” Paul Konickson, maintenance operations engineer, said in the release. “Keep crosswalks, intersections, entrances and exits clean and unobstructed.”
Violations are considered misdemeanors, but civil penalties also apply if the placement of snow creates a hazard such as a slippery area, frozen rut or bump that contributes to a motor vehicle or pedestrian crash. The civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow, the release said.
Other hazards created by improper placement of snow on or near a public roadway include drainage problems, drifting, sight obstruction and safe accessibility. Special attention should be made to keep crosswalks, intersections, entrances and exits clean and unobstructed.
MnDOT maintenance crews plow and maintain about 12,000 miles of state highways and interstates in Minnesota. District 2 crews are responsible for about 3,900 lane miles.
For tips on safe winter driving, go to www.mndot.gov/workzone/winter.html.
For updated road condition information, call 511 or visit www.511mn.org.