With a big winter storm approaching, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is reminding the public that it is unlawful to deposit snow on or next to a public highway or street. Doing so creates hazards such as drainage problems, drifting, sight obstruction and unsafe access, and special attention should be made to keep crosswalks, intersections, entrances and exits clean and unobstructed. Minnesota law and many local ordinances prohibit the plowing, blowing, shoveling or otherwise placing of snow on to public roads. This includes the ditch and right of way area along the roads. Violations are considered misdemeanors, but civil penalties also apply if the placement of snow creates a hazard, such as a slippery area or frozen rut or bump that contributes to a motor vehicle or pedestrian crash. The civil liability can extend to both the property owner and the person who placed the snow. Mn/DOT maintenance crews plow and maintain about 12,000 miles of state highways and interstates in Minnesota.