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Published February 29, 2012, 06:51 PM

New technology helps plow drivers adjust to conditions

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Interstate-29 from Fargo to the South Dakota border is back open after being closed by the snowstorm. To open the road the North Dakota DOT is using a whole new set of tools.

Interstate-29 from Fargo to the South Dakota border is back open after being closed by the snowstorm. To open the road the North Dakota DOT is using a whole new set of tools.

As North Dakota DOT plow hit the highways today some of them have an extra set of eyes traveling along.

Bruce Nord – North Dakota DOT: “They're all in line. This is a new photo.”

Some of the plows are now equipped with cameras that allow supervisors back at the base to watch the road with them.

Bruce Nord: "We know what it's like down there right now, and it’s just another tool."

It's not just to check on road conditions, it can help make decisions that keep the drivers safe.

Bruce Nord: "I’ve got some guys that, it's really, really got to get bad before they pull the pin and go back to the barn or they'd just stay out there.”

Technology is not only helping the DOT monitor road conditions it's also helping them decide when to apply salt and chemicals. Tyler Rupp's plow is equipped with a GPS, but it's not like the one that's on our cars.

Tyler Rupp – ND DOT Plow Driver: “It doesn't guide me but it tracks what I do, so how long it takes me to plow, how much material I put down. All that goes into data.”

That GPS data is combined with other factors.

Bruce Nord: “All these roads that are highlighted, we now know what kind of pavement they are. What's the subgrade, how deep is the subgrade…they grab some of the stuff from our RWIS sites where we monitor air temperature and pavement temperature. By clicking on this we know that we're going to be slushy but they're telling us we need to put some material on down there.”

Still even with all the new technology some things don't change when the snow flies.

Tyler Rupp: “Just get in the truck and go, that about all there is to it.”

The DOT is considering making the plow cameras available for the public to view on its website.

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