People driving in Manitoba can now dial 511 to get the latest highway and weather conditions.

The province launched the 511 telephone service on Wednesday, saying the new road information hotline is ready in time for the winter driving season.

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Manitoba's 511 road information hotline has been launched in time for the winter driving season, which often includes poor road conditions during snowstorms. ((CBC))

The toll-free hotline offers updated information on provincial highway conditions, road and bridge closures, weather conditions, and information for truckers and tourists.

"If you look at the time we're going have six to seven months of winter driving conditions in the province, so if there ever was a province that could use this kind of information, it's Manitoba," Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said Wednesday in Brandon.

The 511 service also exists online through a revamped website, mb511.ca, that features new interactive maps and current road information for neighbouring provinces and states.

An older version of the site received about 2,300 visits on a typical winter day and upwards of 45,000 visits a day during winter storms, according to provincial officials.

Ashton said he cannot guarantee the new 511 service won't experience any problems from a high volume of calls during storms.

"I don't want to assume there will be technical glitches, but we're certainly watching for that," he said. "My sense is that it will be very heavily used."

Ashton said the volume of calls to the 511 hotline will be monitored, and efforts will be made to avoid any glitches.

Similar 511 road-information services already exist in 30 U.S. states and several other Canadian provinces, including Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Yukon, Ashton said.