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New Tech Could Help MnDOT Plows Determine Best Way To Clear Snow Based On Conditions

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As we start digging out from our latest snowfall, new technology is getting a test-run on Minnesota roads.

It already has technology in plow truck.

"Every snow plow is equipped to really look at things like road temperature, air temperature, wind speed and that helps driver calculate what's best for their particular route," Anne Meyer with MnDOT said.

That's how crews know when to also add material like salt and brine.

MnDOT is looking to improve. In northwestern Minnesota, newer technology is being tested. MnDOT's research and training engineer, Tom Peters, calls it an experimental project.

"The public really expects us at MnDOT to provide a good road for them whenever they need it," Peters said.

Two trucks are using equipment designed to improve the plow truck. Three plows that are more maneuverable and could clear roads more quickly. The slurry spreaders being evaluated are supposed to spread more evenly, and is less corrosive to the trucks.

"We're hopeful we'll see substantial opportunity here to preserve our trucks and keep them in better shape," Peters said.

Peters says the goal is to be more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable.

"It's just kind of all trying to get more innovative pieces of our winter maintenance program together and working," Peters said.

That new technology will be tested in the metro area next winter. It will be early 2023 before a decision on if they'll go statewide is expected to be made.

You can check driving conditions by going to 511, there you can see also where plows are in real time.


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