Monday, June 12, 2017

State reminds homeowners to do homework before hiring a contractor

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) reminds homeowners to do their homework before hiring a building contractor after a storm ... or anytime.

“There are many companies in Minnesota that specialize in repairing roofs, siding and windows damaged by storms. Most of these contractors are reputable and licensed,” said Ken Peterson, DLI commissioner. “However, sometimes unscrupulous operators try to take advantage of storm victims.”

After neighborhoods experience a wind or hail storm, homeowners may find salespeople for these companies going door-to-door soliciting repair work.

Before signing any document, homeowners should call DLI at (651) 284-5069 or go online to DLI'sLicense Lookup search to verify the contractor is licensed and to learn if the contractor has a history of disciplinary action. Homeowners should also check with the Better Business Bureau and check for lawsuits or judgments involving the company or its owners in the state court system.

Homeowners are cautioned not to sign anything presented by a contractor unless the document is read very carefully and the homeowner has made a firm decision to hire that contractor. Generally speaking, if a homeowner signs a piece of paper it is a contract, regardless of what the salesperson says; the homeowner is then obligated to use the contractor for all repairs approved by the homeowner's insurance company.

Contractors cannot offer to pay the homeowner's insurance deductible. State law prohibits contractors from paying deductibles or offering any compensation as an incentive to hire them to perform storm repair services.

Before hiring a contractor, DLI suggests homeowners ask:
  • for the contractor's license number and then contact DLI's CCLD Enforcement Unit at (651) 284-5069 or to verify the contractor is currently licensed and to determine if the contractor has a disciplinary history;
  • the contractor how long and where they have been in business;
  • for references and check with former customers to see if they were satisfied with the work; and
  • for a local phone number and a Minnesota business address other than a post office box.

Friday, June 2, 2017

MnDOT starts full summer overweight permits in the north frost zone

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation will start full summer overweight permits in the north frost zone June 7.

Full summer overweight permits are already available in other frost zones.

Road restriction maps indicating the locations of weight restricted routes and those state highways open to maximum 10-ton axle weights are listed on the MnDOT Seasonal Load Limits website at Click on “Spring Load Restrictions.” Also available is a text list of the restricted segments along with exceptions to the map.

Middle-range overweight permits become available within each frost zone when spring load restrictions are lifted.

Full summer overweight permits become available within each frost zone starting two to three weeks after spring load restrictions are lifted. For questions about the legal weight and size heavy haul trucking, call MnDOT’s Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations department at 651-296-6000 or email

For enforcement questions, call the State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement at 651-405-6196 and select option 3 and then option 3.

MnDOT will report dates on its 24-hour automated message center at 1‑800‑723‑6543 for the U.S. and Canada, and locally at 651‑366‑5400 for the Minneapolis/St.Paul area.

Road preservation projects scheduled for area highways

BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists can expect brief delays on area highways beginning Monday, June 12, as contractor crews complete seal coating projects to extend the life of the pavement surface on Highways 1 and 32 in Marshall, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake counties.

The highway segments scheduled for the preventative maintenance include:    

·         Highway 1 between Warren and Thief River Falls (approximately 28 miles)
·         Highway 32 from Fertile to St. Hilaire (approximately 33 miles)

During this work, a pilot car and flaggers will control traffic, and motorists should plan for daily lane closures in the area where crews are working. Drivers are urged to slow down and be alert for loose gravel and oil spraying in these areas. The work zone speed limit is 40 mph.

Asphalt Surface Technologies Corporation, based in St. Cloud is the prime contractor for the $1.47 million preventive maintenance project consisting of over 60 miles of roadway repair.

MnDOT urges motorists to always drive with caution, and reminds them to slow down in the work zone and never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones.

For real-time travel information and road conditions anywhere in Minnesota, visit