MnDOT to begin sending text alerts for road closures due to crashes, severe weather
MINNESOTA (Valley News Live) - The Minnesota Department of Transportation is going to start sending text alerts to keep drivers safe on the roads.
MnDOT entered an agreement with FEMA to begin using wireless emergency alerts. It’s the same system that sends notifications like AMBER alerts and other time-sensitive information.
MnDOT says they will be able to provide real-time information about road closures caused by severe weather or major crashes on the highway system.
“Road closures can occur suddenly, especially in cases of severe weather or major crashes on the highway system. With WEA messages, MnDOT will be able to send immediate mobile alerts to people in the vicinity of a highway closure or detour – helping minimize motorists on roadways during winter conditions and aiding law enforcement and emergency personnel in responding to incidents quickly,” said Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger.
The text alerts will go directly to mobile devices without the user needing to download an app or subscribe to a service. The message may also include a link to 511mn.org, which is the state’s online road information system. For example:
MnDOT’s operating procedures include sending emergency alerts only when highway closures of more than four hours are expected due to weather (such as snow, ice or flooding) or major crashes or incidents.
Alerts will only be sent for closures on state highways and interstates under the agency’s jurisdiction and will be sent to all mobile phones within a one-mile band around the highway, beginning 10 miles ahead of any closure location. The nature of an emergency could require a larger area for notifications and specifics will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
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