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MnDOT launches winter travel alerts via text and email for SE Minnesota

Those who sign up will be alerted about crashes and weather that could significantly impact travel.

Motorists in southeastern Minnesota can now get alerts on winter driving conditions to their phone or email. 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation rolled out this program last week for state highways in the 11 southeast Minnesota counties, a news release says

“Motorists want information to help them make smart driving decisions,” Mike Dougherty, MnDOT District 6 director of public engagement and communications in Rochester said in a statement. “People can choose to sign up for the alerts either via text message or email, which gives them another option from MnDOT to be safe on the roads.”

The alerts are geared toward incidents that will impact travel, such as winter crashes that may delay or divert traffic for several hours and "significant weather that is likely to affect or is affecting travel in the region," including drifting snow, icy roads, or visibility issues, the release says.

The counties included in the alert are Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona.

To sign up, visit the MnDOT District 6 website here and click on winter driving alerts. There, motorists can choose if they'd like a text message or email update. Remember, it is illegal to read a text or email while driving – phones can only be used while behind the wheel via voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone. 

MnDOT will also share alerts and winter driving conditions on social media using the hashtag #SEMNwinter.

This text and email pilot program in MnDOT District 6 comes after drivers in the region said they wanted a texting service, the Star Tribune reports. MnDOT adapted its email alert program it uses for things like construction projects to include winter weather alerts and cell phone numbers. 

Other MnDOT districts do not yet offer this text and email option. However, Minnesotans can view current road conditions throughout the state by calling 511, visiting MnDOT's 511 website here, or downloading the 511mn app. 

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