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Boreal Community Media

Highway Department Issues Holiday Travel Message

Nov 21, 2018 01:34PM ● By Editor

Public Service Announcement from Cook County Highway Department - November 21, 2018

With snow and potential freezing rain in the forecast, Cook County asks residents and visitors to plan ahead and travel carefully. 

Highway Engineer Krysten Foster reminds drivers that slippery, shaded roads with lower traffic take longer to melt than high traffic roads or roads exposed to the sun.  “The scenic beauty of Cook County’s highways comes with a tradeoff of icier winter roads,” says Foster.

The Highway Department operates a fleet of eight trucks and four graders to clear nearly 300 miles of highways during winter weather events. Primary roads and school bus routes are plowed as soon as possible. When an evening snow or ice storm covers county roadways, the Highway Department operations typically begin at 4 am. Cook County staffs one shift of plowing meaning the Highway Department does not plow throughout the night. MnDoT plows and maintains MN Highway 61, typically clears Highway 61 sooner than county highways as it is a main arterial highway, is less shaded and cars spread salt across the road faster on busier bare highways.

Cook County does not budget to plow down to bare pavement. The Cook County Highway Department usually applies a mix of 10% salt 90% sand mix because most equipment clears both paved roads and gravel roads.  Minimal, if any, salt application on gravel roads is necessary because salt weakens gravel roads. 

County Highway Road Maintenance Foreman Charlie Sawyer asks drivers to use caution and drive safely around plowing equipment.  “The blind spot behind a plow truck is longer than the average vehicle,” according to Sawyer. “Plowing sometimes also requires our drivers to reverse trucks; please stay back and give equipment a wide berth to safely do their jobs.”

Travel safely this weekend and through the winter season. Happy holidays from Cook County. 

Questions or concerns regarding snow removal should be directed to the Cook County Highway Department at 387-3014.  Emergencies may be reported to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. 


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