MNDoT discusses 511, and how technology has changed how they handle snowstorms

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Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 7:19 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - MNDoT has plenty of technology in place for handling their traffic systems with the 511 app, as well as new technology that has changed the way they handle snowstorms.

Frequent winter weather requires the need to always be prepared, and is particularly true for MNDoT.

MNDoT has implemented many new resources for gaining and distributing information on road conditions and closures, and says that the use of new technology has changed the way they look at winter weather.

“Typically it was, you’re looking at the weather radars and you think it might be snowing, and you run your plow routes ‘oh you know it’s not hitting the ground’ or ‘yup okay it’s out here now we can react’. Well having that camera image now allows us to verify that information long before it even hits our area,” said Chase Fester, MnDOT District 7 Assistant Maintenance Manager.

MNDoT says that its 511 traffic maps along with live public traffic and plow cameras, which were just implemented in the last two years, have given both MNDoT and drivers new access to road information.

511 is MNDoT primary tool for communicating with drivers, and MNDoT says that the only concern with 511 is that it has yet to become as widely used as they would like. MNDoT updates their road maps every ten minutes, and says that drivers should check their travel routes before setting out in winter weather.

“There are still people that aren’t aware that 511 is out there and is a free tool that everybody can use. So I really encourage folks to download that, you know our media push here at MNDoT as well is to, you know, always monitor 511 for your latest route conditions,” said Fester.

The MN 511 app can be downloaded on Apple devices here, and on Android devices here.