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MnDOT training program prepares snowplow operators for winter

ST. PAUL, Minn.-- More than 110 snowplow operators are currently participating in an intensive training program to prepare them for the worst road conditions a typical Minnesota winter has to offer. The training session began last week and runs through September 30 at the Camp Ripley training facility near Little Falls.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation'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 Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel. "Making sure they arrive safe at their destination is our priority."

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

In addition to new MnDOT employees, MnDOT veterans who want to improve their skills and snowplow operators from township, city, county and tribal governments also participate.

"SPOT allows us to meet short-term training needs that will lead to long-term improvements," said Steve Lund, MnDOT's state maintenance engineer. "It is important that we take the necessary amount of time to educate snowplow operators so we can provide the best possible service to motorists."

SPOT began in 2004. When the current session ends on Sept. 30, MnDOT will have trained more than 1,000 snowplow operators.