Snowplowing & Road Conditions

Did you know that the Mille Lacs County Public Works Department is responsible for approximately 410 miles of county roads and county state aid highways. The State of Minnesota, townships, and municipalities are responsible for all other roadways in the County.

Snowplow truck removing snow

Snow Removal Times

Snow removal times can vary depending on moisture content of the snow, weather conditions, and on when the snow fall occurs. A snowfall that occurs during the heavy traffic times will cause more problems than snow falling from midnight to 3 a.m. Heavy, wet snow followed by a cold snap could require more time to clear than dry snow.

Fully equipped trucks weigh as much as 15 times (70,000 pounds when loaded) more than an average car.

Salt & Sand

Salt melts snow and ice on roads when road surface temperatures are below freezing. Salt gets less effective as temperatures drop.

Sand increases traction for motorists on slippery roads, mostly used at intersections, curves, and inclines.

Hours of Operation

As a general rule snow removal is conducted during daylight hours. This is to help maximize safety and efficiency. Whenever possible snow removal will start at 5 a.m. and is discontinued at 5 p.m. To minimize driver fatigue every effort is made to limit driver shifts to 12 hours. Work may continue for several days after a snow event to remove drifts, push back snow banks, and address problem areas.

Snowplow Drivers

All operators are required to have a valid Class A Commercial Driver's License. Snowplow trucks are dispatched from three locations in the County:

  • Milaca
  • Princeton
  • Wahkon

Snowplow Tips

When Snowplows are on the road please keep the following in mind!

Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds. As in most large trucks, the driver's field of vision is severely restricted immediately in front of and to the rear of the truck. The driver must rely on the mirrors to see the rear and to the side.

Snowplow blind spots (JPG)
  1. Stay Back
  2. Be Patient
  3. Slow Down
  4. Stay Alert

Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.

Safe Driving Tips

Review the following safe driving tips during snow storms:

  • Never drive into a snow cloud
  • Stay behind the snowplow
  • Test the road surface frequently throughout your trip by tapping your brakes. Black ice is invisible and may be present in some areas, but not others
  • Turn off your cruise control
  • Turn on your headlights