MnDOT prepares plow operators for winter

Published 10:54 pm Friday, September 21, 2018

More than 100 snowplow operators from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the cities of Minneapolis and Rochester and Scott County are training during the next two weeks at Camp Ripley, near Little Falls, to learn how to safely and effectively plow snow. Although most of the training takes place at Camp Ripley, motorists are advised that snowplows may be seen on Highway 10.

MnDOT’s snowplow operator training program, known as SPOT, is a two-week session that highlights a variety of safety measures, plowing techniques and best practices. The session provides trainees with updates on new equipment, policies and procedures related to winter highway maintenance operations.

“We have more than 1,500 snowplow operators clearing 30,000 lane miles of state highway each winter to ensure that motorists can get to where they want to go,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “Getting people safely to their destinations is a team effort and our employees who plow snow are on the front line.”

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As part of SPOT, MnDOT maintenance supervisors and other staff provide classroom and hands-on training and share their experience and insights with the trainees.

“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.

Snowplow operators will receive training this year on MnDOT’s Maintenance Decision Support System and Automated Vehicle Location technology. The technology provides operators with weather and road information to make decisions on what type of treatment and in what quantity to use on the road.

The AVL technology is installed on about 76 percent of the agency’s 840 plow trucks.

MnDOT will conduct a second SPOT session Oct. 15-19 and Oct. 22-26, where an additional 60 MnDOT snowplow operators will be trained.

MnDOT has trained more than 1,900 snowplow operators since the training began in 2004.