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Ask a trooper for June 15, 2014

Q: Regarding southbound U.S. Interstate 35, south of Duluth between Midway Road and Cloquet, can you tell me why there is a section of road on which the ridges in the road make my steering and tires feel unsteady? It feels like the ridges are pulling my tires around. I’ve talked to several people with various vehicles who experience this same thing. Is it safer than it feels?

A: I checked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for you. Their public information officer gets these questions once in a while, and here are some main points to answer your question:

The main safety benefit from the texture is it improves traction. Some vehicles feel the movement or pull more than others. The movement or pull gets less over time because of wear from traffic and plowing operations. The textured surface is not specifically designed to shed water. The surface is very safe.

MnDOT thoroughly tests the effectiveness of pavement design at the MnROAD Research facility near Albertville, Minn. Learn more online at

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.