MnDOT spent nearly $174M to clear highways during 'most severe winter in more than a decade'

A snowplow clears snow on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. (FOX 9)

Maintenance costs and overall weather conditions may prove this past winter was especially severe in Minnesota. 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) spent nearly $174 million to clear highways during the 2022-23 winter season. That's the most MnDOT has ever spent on snow and ice operations, and is nearly 25% higher than the most recent five-year average, with the agency calling it "the most severe winter in more than a decade."

Additionally, according to the latest MnDOT Winter Maintenance Report, crews faced the most intense weather conditions in Minnesota in more than a decade. The statewide snowfall average for winter 2022-23 was 90.2 inches and the winter severity index was 164 which are both higher than previous winters. 

"This was an extremely challenging winter season, but our crews worked tirelessly to conquer each storm and keep travelers safe and moving in Minnesota," said Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger in a statement. "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."

The annual report includes costs and performance, winter severity, materials used and other factors. Statistics are separated by each of MnDOT’s eight transportation districts, showing the difference in impact depending on the district.

Altogether, MnDOT snowplow drivers worked more than 850,000 regular hours and overtime this season – more than 100,000 hours more than our previous winter season. In addition, MnDOT used 14 million gallons of liquid materials to help clear roads and keep them safe, which is more than ever before.