More than 100 snowplow operators from around the state of Minnesota will spend the last two weeks of September training at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, learning how to most safely and effectively clear snow when it falls on state roads.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) said operators from MnDOT, Minneapolis, Rochester and Scott County will train primarily at Camp Ripley, but that snowplows may be seen nearby on U.S. Highway 10 as well. The state has over 1,500 snowplow operators clearing 30,000 lane miles of highway each winter.
The Snowplow Operator Training Program (SPOT) highlights a variety of safety measures, plowing techniques and best practices. It also provides operators with updates on new equipment, policies and procedures related to winter highway maintenance.
This year, operators will receive training on MnDOT's Maintenance Decision Support System and Automated Vehicle Location technology, meant to provide those doing the plowing with weather and road information in order to make decisions on what type of treatment (sand or salt) to use, and in what amount. The technology is currently installed in around 76% of MnDOT's 840 plow trucks.
A second SPOT session will be held in October for which 60 more MnDOT snowplow operators are expected to participate.