The Minnesota Department of Transportation will now send drivers pertinent safety information wirelessly.
An agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will allow MnDOT to use the agency’s alert and warning system to send the notifications.
These wireless emergency alerts will typically include a link with more information about the incident at 511mn.org.
Below is an example of a wireless emergency alert from MnDOT:
“EMERGENCY ALERT – The I-90 corridor is closed from the South Dakota border to Albert Lea due to blizzard conditions. Go to www.511mn.org for more information and updates.”
Users are not required to download an app or subscribe to a service to receive the alerts, MnDOT said.
“The ability to send wireless emergency alert messages through the integrated public alert and warning system is an important additional tool for MnDOT to provide real-time information to the traveling public,” MnDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger said. “Road closures can occur suddenly, especially in cases of severe weather or major crashes on the highway system.
⚠️ Announced today: MnDOT will begin using Wireless Emergency Alerts to notify travelers of major highway closures.
— Minnesota Department of Transportation (@MnDOT) August 21, 2023
County sheriff’s offices in Minnesota as well as departments of transportation in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas have already implemented the use of wireless emergency alerts.
“With wireless emergency alerts, 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,” Daubenberger said.
MnDOT said emergency alerts will be sent when a closure due to weather or major crashes or incidents exceeds four hours. Alerts for closures of state highways and interstates will be sent to mobile phones within 1 mile of the highway.
The nature of the emergency could expand the area for notifications and will be determined case by case. LL