This website is the home for tools and resources that can assist you in keeping your state and local roads clear of blowing and drifting snow and ice.
The topography, land-use characteristics, and winter climate for much of Minnesota cause this area to be particularly vulnerable to blowing and drifting snow on roadways. This can reduce driver safety, degrade road quality, and increase snow removal costs. Research has shown that snow fences act as windbreaks, causing blowing snow to deposit on the landscape rather than on the roads. When comparing the cost of snow removal with living snow fences, an average benefit/cost ratio of 17:1 exemplifies the efficiency of this method, validating use in Minnesota.
- MnDOT: Standing corn rows improving road safety across state
KSTP News, April 20, 2018
- After 40 years, Minnesota's weather man Mark Seeley retires from UMN, and lists MnDOT's snow fence research as one of his top three accomplishments
Star Tribune, January 10, 2018
- Weaving through winter
Roads & Bridges, September 6, 2017
- 'Living' snow fences reduce dangerous snow patches on roads
StarTribune, April 5, 2016
- Shrub Willows Key to Keeping Blowing Snow Off Minnesota Roads
KSTP-5 News, March 23, 2016
This online tool allows transportation agencies to estimate the return on investment of implementing blowing snow control practices such as living snow fences or standing corn rows on private lands.
U of M Research Puts Blowing Snow in Its Place
An overview of three projects focused on living snow fences. Collectively, this work won the 2017 CTS Research Partnership Award.
Fences that Save: Cost-Effective Snow Control Tools
April 23, 2015
This video describes the standing corn rows program and the snow control tool calculator. The calculator allows MnDOT to determine which snow control measure will be most effective on a given stretch of roadway. Video produced by MnDOT Video Services.
Snow Control Tools Webinar – December 2, 2015
This webinar recording provides an overview of the Snow Control Cost-Benefit Tool to calculate the value of snow control measures and the Snow Fence Design Tool to help determine the placement of snow fences.
Presenters: Gary Wyatt, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota; Diomy Zamora, Extension Educator/Professor, University of Minnesota; David Smith, USDA, former Research Assistant, University of Minnesota; Dean Current, Director, CINRAM, University of Minnesota; and Daniel Gullickson, Forester, Minnesota Department of Transportation
Watch recording (53 min)
Shrub Willows for Living Snow Fences Webinar- December 2, 2015
This webinar recording describes a MnDOT-sponsored research project about how shrub willows can be used for living snow fences, covering the establishment, design, functionality, and potential environmental impacts of using them.
Presenters: Diomy Zamora, Extension Educator/Professor, Eric Ogdahl, Graduate Research Assistant, and Gary Wyatt, Extension Educator/Professor, University of Minnesota
Watch recording (51 min)
This website is developed and maintained by the University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies, with sponsorship from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.