COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) -- Like long brown ribbons they appear in unpredictable patterns. Anchoring two Highway 10 cloverleaves, looking a bit like cattle corals.
"They do kind of but they're not enclosed, so the problem is they're not totally enclosed," smiles MnDOT spokesman, Kent Barnard.
Barnard says the fencing is meant not to stop animals, but rather halt winter's dangerous drifting and highway glazing snow.
"They pretty much know where the issues are with the blowing and drifting snow and that's how they decide where to place them," says Barnard. "Kind of where the wind patterns come through the interchanges."
The wide bands of polymer rails stretch hundreds of feet. Each one is strategically located to block winter's prevailing winds.
MnDOT is also experimenting with a more natural alternative. It is an affordable, fast-growing plant option of hybrid willow.
MnDOT's partnership with the University of Minnesota shows that rows of hybrid willow shrubs are also effective. Plantings were recently installed in Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Shakopee and Jordan.
So come winter, let the snow fall and winds blow – MnDOT is confident it has a new tool to make winter driving a bit safer.
"The various components of the fencing are made to withstand our extreme temperatures and heat and everything else," added Barnard. "We don't need to be putting up and taking down out there all the time."
A proven design with a modern twist.
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