The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 24, 2011

Ask a Trooper: Snow on the highway

By Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha
Minnesota State Patrol

MANKATO — Q: Can I blow my driveway snow on the highways shoulder?  My driveway enters the highway and the plows could move it easily and I am running out of space.

A: Unfortunately you are going to have to do without the help of the big orange plows.  I know there is a lot of snow this winter and the bigger your driveway the better your strategy needs to be to find a place for it all when clearing it. 

You cannot move your snow into the right of way or on to the roadway;  not on the shoulder, not in the lanes, not a lot, not a little and not by accident  and not on purpose. You can be cited and fined if in violation.

160.2715 RIGHT-OF-WAY USE; (a) Except for the actions of the road authorities, their agents, employees, contractors, and utilities in carrying out their duties imposed by law or contract, and except as herein provided, it shall be unlawful to:

(1) obstruct any highway or deposit snow or ice thereon;

(2) plow or perform any other detrimental operation within the road right-of-way except in the preparation of the land . . .

[The law continues discussing signs, digging, damage, etc.; it can be examined at]


I am sure this prohibitive statute has a great deal to do with budgets and safety.  First, If  EVERYONE were to do it we would definitely be providing a new and expensive service.  We always need to remember it isn’t just you who would take advantage if putting out your snow for removal was allowed.

Finally, safety would be greatly reduced if we do not expect the snow refuse and drive through it possibly losing control or incurring damage, you may be partly responsible.  Roadways and shoulders need to remain clear and safe, thus being predictable beyond Mother Nature’s contributions, crashes and emergencies. 

We are all experiencing the same winter and it is getting to be hard work as well as exhausting. But that is Minnesota…. there is no easy way around this much snow.