CAMP RIPLEY - A state-of-the art driving facility has been completed at Camp Ripley.  The Minnesota State Patrol will use the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course to simulate crash sites, and practice driving fast.

Lieutenant Adam Fulton is the track coordinator.  He says the State Patrol is just one of over 25 agencies - from federal to local - that will utilize the facility. It will also most-likely be utilized by agencies across North America.

Fulton says the Department of Energy also has an interest in using the track.

Another example of how the facility would be used is for new MnDOT drivers to practice snow plowing.

It's designed to simulate real road conditions, with 4.3 miles of roadway surface, two gravel roads, and a winding road through a wooded area.

The $6 million cost was paid for with state bonding money.

Phase two of the project will recreate a more urban setting, with buildings, a bridge, a freeway, and more.  The projected cost for that phase would be about $12 million.  It's on hold pending more state bonding money.

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety