MNDOT to MN drivers: 'We're all in this together.'

After a nightmare commute home yesterday, Director of Communications Kevin Gutknecht explains how it got so bad

Paul and Jordana
November 29, 2018 - 6:20 pm

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Wednesday afternoon’s commute was the subject of nightmares. A weather system that brought just two inches of snow to the Metro area was enough to snarl traffic and create hundreds of accidents. Since the snow was expected, some commuters asked Paul and Jordana if MNDoT could have done a better job preparing the roads.

Director of Communications, Kevin Gutknecht told them that crews were ready to go well before the snow began.

“We had done some pretreating in places and we just began to get out and plow when the snow began to accumulate.”

Gutknecht said there was a myriad of factors involved in creating the traffic chaos.

“Yesterday was a combination of the traffic, the timing of the storm – fortunately the temperature was good for the salt to work,” he said, “I think what you saw was people were out driving and they started packing down the snow. We had people out, but they can only move as fast as traffic was moving.”

Rusty winter driving skills didn’t help matters either.

“This was the first major snowstorm of the year. For all of us, there’s a little bit of time that we need to take to get used to driving in winter weather,” Gutknecht said, “and making sure our vehicles have good tires on them so the tires will grip the roadway.”

Some callers to WCCO wondered if MNDoT should have used more pre-treating chemicals.

“Pretreating is not a panacea, said Gutknecht, “Pretreating helps out in the first half hour to hour. It helps us get the snow off so that we can maybe avoid compaction. But after a period of time it loses its effectiveness.”

In the end, there’s only so much MNDoT can do and Gutknecht wanted to remind drivers that it’s a team effort.

“You know we’re all in this together,” he said, “Yeah MNDoT’s out there, but we have to count on the drivers too to drive their vehicles in a safe fashion and be in control of those vehicles.”

Hear the entire interview with Paul and Jordana: