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MnDOT begins startup as state government shutdown ends

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is restarting its operations today, following a 20-day state government shutdown. MnDOT officials advise that the process may take some time.

"The first step is to get all of our people back to work," said MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel. "They are the most important resource that we have. We can't fulfill our obligations without them."

MnDOT employees began returning to work at 7 a.m.

"The public will see MnDOT come out of the shutdown in stages," said Sorel. "Some services, such as MnPASS, traffic cameras and freeway incident response trucks, will be up and running fairly quickly. Other services may take more time to bring fully on line."

Sorel said some planning has taken place regarding re-starting the construction program. The district construction management offices around the state will be in immediate contact with contractors and will work to get construction projects started as quickly as possible.

"We know the contractors are anxious to get their employees back to work, and we want to do whatever we can to make up for the disruption to our schedules," Sorel said. "This is the height of our construction season and we want to make up for this lost time."

Across the state, districts have also done some preliminary planning on opening rest areas, he added. Crews will need to inspect the facilities, clean up any storm damage and open buildings. Most of the rest areas should be open to the public by Saturday.