Taking a road trip and concerned about the weather? The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is lending you its eyes.
The agency expanded its network of roadside cameras and opened the new additions to the public, giving drivers real-time photos from whatever highways their travels will be taking them on, according to a news release.
MnDOT says Minnesotans can now see the information (which includes not only pictures from live rotating cameras, but also weather warnings and other traffic data) online using the 511 travel info website and smartphone app.
This is what a typical photo looks like – this one is from Highway 10 in Lake Park, in Becker County:
According to the release, the Road Weather Information Stations system, which is located along state roads and interstates and used by MnDOT maintenance crews, now allows the public access to photographic data from 92 additional locations.
FOX 9 says this is on top of the 800 or so traffic cameras already accessible on the 511 website.
As the graphic below shows, the vast majority of those are in the Twin Cities; the new cameras are now helping give outstate drivers up-to-the-minute information on road conditions wherever they're headed:
“[The service] is perfect for Greater Minnesota, where camera images were lacking in the past,” 511 Program Manager Kelly Braunig said “Seeing is believing, so the photos will help motorists know what the road conditions are for where they are traveling.”
MnDOT also highlights a number of other "enhancements" to its 511 system, including traffic maps in both the metro and outstate, which uses Google Speed technology to track congestion caused by construction, crashes and closures. Users can even zoom in on specific incidents or events to get an idea of what their commute will be like or why it has slowed.