MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Next time your car stalls on the freeway, smile and wave. At the epicenter of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s traffic operations in Roseville, these are the people likely looking back at you.

Through 600 live cameras, MnDOT is able to pinpoint potential problems as they happen — like a flat tire or a crash — and speed up their response to keep traffic moving.

Thirty-two-year traffic veteran Jim Kanig says keeping an eye on the roads is as exciting as it is important — such as when cameras captured a wrong way driver.

“The driver going the wrong way on the freeway in the right lane, but it was actually the left high speed lane and so we put up signs and said ‘left lane closed ahead.’ Didn’t want people to panic,” Kanig said.

Social media has transformed the way people like Kanig do their jobs. Through sites like Twitter, MnDOT can spread the word about traffic snarls and jams in seconds.

“It’s helped a lot because we can do it faster,” Kanig said.

Also, the 511 app launched a year ago, which is allowing drivers to get up to date construction notifications, so they can plan a different route. However, Kanig says when it comes to getting drivers the information they need, working closely with WCCO is key.

“It works well with us working with the news media because we can get a lot more info out to a lot more people,” Kanig said.

That app is popular in the winter because it also provides road conditions.

For more details on the app, click here. There you can also find information on how you can also take a tour of MnDOT yourself.

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