MnDOT prepares for winter road conditions

Published 9:28 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Close to 250 Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplow operators in southeast Minnesota are gathering this week for their annual winter preparedness meetings as MnDOT prepares to shift its seasonal focus from construction to snow and ice.

According to a press release, the meetings in Rochester and Owatonna are part of the training each operator receives in MnDOT’s 11-county District 6 in southeast Minnesota. They are provided with updates and new information about technology, equipment, procedures and safety.

“Preparing for snow and ice season often begins in the spring; we use these meetings to give operators helpful reminders and updates before the pace quickens in winter,” said Tim Zierden, maintenance superintendent in District 6 east.

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Snowplow operators will also hear from the State Patrol and its dispatchers, equipment mechanics and get a chance to ask questions about operations and procedures.

In MnDOT’s 11-county District 6, there are 101 snowplows on the roads for MnDOT. During heavy snowstorms, the drivers are deployed in 12-hour shifts to give 24-hour coverage to maintain travel on the state highways.

MnDOT also reminds the public that now is also a good time for motorists to begin their own preparation of their vehicles and get in the habit of checking or calling 511 for real-time traffic and travel information in Minnesota. For additional tips on safe winter driving, go to