Iowa DOT explains how it gets road conditions into 511

States like Iowa and Minnesota have 511 systems with apps, websites and telephone that let drivers know road conditions.

Posted: Dec 9, 2019 10:26 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2019 6:35 AM

MASON CITY, IA - After a good snow, it's always a good idea to check road conditions before you get behind the wheel.  Iowa DOT's Pete Hjelmstad explains how they compile the information.

"The information that goes on to the website, as far as the road conditions, is from our employees.  They are the ones that are the experts out on the road.  They are the ones that know what is happening and they are the ones that put in those road conditions," he says.

DOT supervisors are out crusing the roads and they are armed with laptops and tablets entering in those conditions, which show up instantly in the 511 system.  Drivers can also access snow plow cameras to get a live look at the highways.  Snow plow operators also are in radio contact with their supervisors and often relay important road condition information as well.

Drivers should also be aware of what 'green' means on those road condition reports.  While many believe that means the roads are clear, it actually an indicator of 'seasonal conditions.'  Motorists are urged to drive carefully even on roads that are indicated as clear.

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