Design Tool

Drift-free roads are achievable through two mitigation strategies, proper road design and/or the use of snow fences. A suitably designed roadway will promote snow deposition in ditches rather than on the roadway and blowing snow that does reach the road will move across without drifting. Snow fences can also help maintain clear roadways by capturing blowing snow upwind of a problem area and storing that snow over the winter season.

You will be able to examine solutions to your site-specific blowing snow problem either designing a snow fence or utilizing road design techniques. For designing a snow fence, you will need roadway compass orientation and fetch distance. For road design you will need the following parameters: distance from edge of pavement to toe of backslope, depth of the ditches, height of the cut above the road surface and compass orientation of the roadway.

Please note that all formulas are given in metric units.

Snow Control Tools Webinar - June 17, 2015

The second section of this webinar (starting at 21:00) demonstrates how to use the tool to design your own snow fence, as well as how the road ditch profile could be constructed to either increase snow storage and/or reduce snow drift formation on the road.

Presenters: David Smith, Research Assistant, University of Minnesota; Daniel Gullickson, Natural Resource Program Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Using Road Design and Snow Fences to Control Snow on Roadways


The Minnesota Drift-Free Roads Design Module was created by partnering staff at the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota State Climatology Office, with technical support from the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.