Posted by Melissa Burlaga
ST. PAUL, Minn. — 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 training session began Sept. 20 and runs through Oct. 1 at the training facility at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minn.
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.
“The public has told us that snow and ice removal is very important,” said Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel. “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. Safe arrival at their destination is our priority.”
As part of SPOT program, Mn/DOT maintenance supervisors and other staff provide hands-on training and share their experience and insights with the trainees.
In addition to new Mn/DOT employees, Mn/DOT veterans who want to improve their skills and snowplow operators from township, city, county and tribal governments also participate.
“SPOT offers an effective way to meet short-term training needs that will lead to long-term improvements,” said Steve Lund, Mn/DOT'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 Oct. 1, Mn/DOT will have trained about 900 snowplow operators.