Bismarck, ND (KFYR) – It’s snowing later this week, but luckily there are plenty of online resources to help us travel safely or keep track of friends and family who may be traveling.
North Dakota residents have a new way to stay safe and travel wisely this winter, said Brandon Beise of the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Drivers can now get real-time road imagery, highway closures and snowplow tracking.
“It’s cool because you can see where the truck is, so if you know there’s a truck in your area, you can expect to see it coming down your state highway in the near future, or maybe it’s just passing by Your mailbox,” said Brandon Beise, Head of Maintenance Operations at Bismarck NDDOT.
While NDDOT says these resources help keep travelers safe, it’s surprising that not everyone knows or uses these online features.
“I didn’t, but it would definitely be convenient. You know, my husband travels a lot, and I’m always a little bit worried about the road and hope he pays attention to something. Maybe the two of us pay attention and things will be better,” said the Bismarck resident.
Currently, about 150 snow plows have the tracking technology, but Beise said ideally, all 350 snow plows in North Dakota in the future will have the feature. Being able to track the location of the plow is useful for driving safely across the state or even within a city.
“We’re definitely going to see peaks before, during and after storms, big storms like this are in the forecast. And then anytime we have major highway closures like this, the public really wants to know how the road is going,” Beth said.
NDDOT is constantly working to improve existing technologies and introduce new and improved features. Roadside cameras provide new photos every 5-10 minutes, allowing travelers to see road conditions, and the new tracking technology is currently being trialled on 10 Bismarck snowplows.
“Now I know I definitely will, you know, I want it to be easy to use, user friendly, because I’m not always very good at computers, but yeah, that would be great,” said the Bismarck resident.
For those who have not used travel maps and their resources before, NDDOT makes navigation easy. The public can find it at travel.dot.nd.gov, or the app can be downloaded to a smartphone so travel updates are in the palm of your hand.
The new and improved tracking technology for Bismarck snowplows is expected to be available to the public by the end of the year.
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