MnDOT to Issue Weather Warnings on Street Signs

April 27, 2018 06:00 PM

Many Minnesotans are used to digital road signs warning drivers of crashes, roadwork, and congestion. Soon, they may also be deployed to warn drivers of weather.

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The Minnesota Department of Transportation first tried posting a few blizzard warnings this past winter, but they were all done manually. Now they're about to start a new two-year study, where they'd develop a system to do it automatically all over the state.

"It's really about safety, and trying to keep people off the road in these type of conditions so they end up not getting stranded or in a car accident," MnDOT Director of Traffic Operations Brian Kary said.

So think of it like this: if it's the type of day where you'd get a blizzard warning on your phone, now you'll also see the same alert on digital signs hanging over highways too.

And it's not just for Minnesotans.

"For somebody who's maybe traveling down I-90 and just traveling through the state, they might not realize that they're traveling into an area that has a blizzard," Kary said.

Altogether the project will cost about $200,000, although Kary said most of that will go towards building the new system. He added that similar set-ups have been successful in other states like Utah.

The testing is unlikely to be fully automated by this coming winter. Kary said the one after that, however, should be all systems go.


Josh Rosenthal

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