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MnDOT program at Camp Ripley trains snowplow operators for winter

LITTLE FALLS - It may only be September, but don't be surprised to see snowplows on Highway 10 or Highway 371 in the Little Falls area during the next couple of weeks.

LITTLE FALLS - It may only be September, but don't be surprised to see snowplows on Highway 10 or Highway 371 in the Little Falls area during the next couple of weeks.

More than 100 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 Minnesota Department of Transportation said in a news release. The training session began Monday and runs through Oct. 2 at the Camp Ripley training facility near Little Falls.

And 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 Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle. "Getting people safely to their destinations is a team effort."

As part of SPOT, which began in 2004, MnDOT maintenance supervisors and other staff provide hands-on training and share their experience and insights with the trainees.

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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, including this year operators from the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Mound.

"Our snowplow operator training program offers unique and specialized training that makes our snowfighters ready for the tough job ahead," said Steve Lund, state maintenance engineer.

When the current session ends Oct. 2, MnDOT will have trained more than 1,400 snowplow operators.

In addition, MnDOT will conduct a second SPOT session Oct. 19-30 for anotherl 70 snowplow operators.

Related Topics: CAMP RIPLEY
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