About 40,000 to 50,000 motorists dial 511 each month during the winter season to get road reports from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
For the past day and a half, many drivers have not been able to get through. The wicked winter weather has brought on a surge of calls Monday and Tuesday and that "could have caused intermittent failures of the system," said MnDOT spokeswoman Kelly Braunig.
With the system on ice, MnDOT tweeted Monday that "if you are trying to call into our 511 road information system, please use the number at 800-542-0220."
Road conditions and information on the 511.org web site have been working just fine.
By late Monday, Kent Barnard, a MnDOT spokesman said, problems with 511 seemed to be with cell phone users who have service with Sprint. He said customers with AT & T, Verizon and T-moble were getting through, or if not, were able to if they called back.
He said callers who have Sprint were getting a busy signal. Those who were close enough to Wisconsin might have gotten road reports for the Badger state.
Just for kicks. I called from my office phone around 1 p.m. and got a message that said "called number does not exist" MnDOT was unaware of problems originating from landlines.
Alas, I called the 800 number above and found that my drive home on I-94 this afternoon will be just fine.