Winter driving conditions on rural highways surrounded by open landscapes can be a big pain, where winds create white-out conditions and from drifts that make travel difficult. That is why the Minnesota Department of Transportation is exploring the use of snow fencing in the upcoming road project on Highway 250 near Lanesboro, where construction starts in 2022.

MnDOT is seeking landowners along the Highway 250 corridor in Fillmore County and other locations willing to install snow fences in areas where blowing snow is a problem.

A team from MnDOT and the University of Minnesota will be in Lanesboro on March 25 to review the blowing snow control program that pays private landowners for installing snow control measures on their property. The program offers a variety of blowing snow control options including long-term solutions such as trees, shrubs, native grasses or structural snow fences and short-term solutions such as standing corn rows or stacked hay bales. These options enable MnDOT to work with landowners to develop a tailored solution for their unique property needs.

MnDOT blowing snow fence program coordinator Dan Gullickson said farmers who participate in the program get compliments from people who use the road to get to their destination.

“People who drive those roads to get to work, take their children to school or do other daily trips appreciate those roads being clear and they often thank the landowner for this public service,” Gullickson said.

With snow fences in place, MnDOT snowplow operators make fewer trips, resulting in less fuel consumption, and reduce the usage of deicers such as salt, sand and chemicals, for smaller effects on the environment.

Research by MnDOT, the University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies shows that snow fences can reduce the severity of injuries on road curves by 40 percent.

“Participation in the blowing snow control program is a public service for family, friends, and local community members who drive on Minnesota’s roads in the winter,” said Cassandra Goodnough, who helps coordinate the program in MnDOT’s District 6 in southeast Minnesota.

You can learn more about the snow control project HERE