Don't be surprised if you see a snow plow on Hwy. 10 near Little Falls, Minn., this week. Yes, that's right, we're talking snow plows.
But don't worry, there are not any mega snowstorms in sight, even with the big dip in temperatures this week. It's only a test.
Plow drivers are gearing up for the snow and ice season with a two-week training session highlighting a variety of safety measures, plowing techniques and best practices. And to do that, they'll take the big rigs out on the road.
MnDOT has more than 1,500 snowplow operators who clear snow and ice from 30,000 lane miles of roads and highways each season. More than 100 of them plus some from the cities of Minneapolis, Rochester and Scott County are participating in the training at Camp Ripley.
"Getting people safely to their destinations is a team effort and our employees who plow snow are on the front line," said state transportation commissioner Charlie Zelle.
Call SPOT (Snowplow Operators Training), the training will provide operators with updates on new equipment, policies and procedures related to winter highway maintenance operations through classroom sessions and hands-on opportunities.
Snowplow operators will training on technology that will provide them with weather and road information to make decisions on what type of treatment, salt or sand, and in what quantity to use on the road. Called Automatic Vehicle Location, the technology is installed on about three quarters agency’s 840 plow trucks.
“Our snowplow operator training program offers unique and specialized training that makes our snowfighters ready for any kind of Minnesota winter,” said Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer.
Another 60 operators will go through the training in October.