Get Up Close with MnDOT’s “Icebreaker”
When it comes to keeping roads clear in the winter, MnDOT has a fleet of trucks with different equipment. One of those is known as the “icebreaker.” There are 17 icebreakers in Minnesota, including four in the Twin Cities metro area.
The icebreaker has been in use for about 10 years. MnDOT only brings it out when certain weather conditions exist.
“The elements that really make us use the icebreaker the most is when we have heavy snow so our plows aren’t able to plow it off the roadways before traffic can go over it,” said Anne Meyer, who is part of MnDOT communications. “So some of that snow then compacts to the roadway. Then also the colder temperatures because our materials like salt and brine don’t work as well when the temperature’s below 15 degrees.”
MnDOT prepared to use icebreaker when necessary
Last year MnDOT used the icebreaker frequently because of the polar vortex and multiple snowstorms. This winter things have been much slower. But if the weather changes, MnDOT will be ready.
“It just shows that we really utilize our trucks in different ways,” Meyer said. “It’s not one truck that would use the icebreaker, it’s an attachment more. We like to have different tools for different situations because we certainly see a gamut of weather here in Minnesota. We want to be prepared for all the elements.”
MnDOT got the idea of using icebreakers from the state of Alaska.