Shortage of plow drivers means longer waits for clear roads in some parts of Ohio
But the Ohio Department of Transportation says it has prepared crews to work around the clock.
The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to have about 1700 plow trucks on state roads during the height of the storm. That’s a little less than normal because of the shortage of drivers.
Ohio Department of Transportation Spokesman Matt Bruning says 3300 drivers are working to clear roads, down a little from past years due to the inability to hire drivers.
“We hire about 500 seasonal positions each year. We hired about 75% of those positions this year. So it trends a little behind previous years. Certainly, it has been more of a challenge in our urban areas than elsewhere,” Bruning says.
Bruning says while ODOT would like to have more drivers, they have the men and women needed to get the job done. Bruning says the unfilled positions are ones that supplement the full-time plow drivers. In some cases, he says employees who work in other capacities for ODOT will be taking on some of the driving duty to help keep the maximum number of plows on the roads.
Bruning says ODOT’s drivers have been trained how to do the job properly and are up to the challenge. Last week, dozens of drivers on the Ohio Turnpike sustained damage to their vehicles when a plow forced debris over the median. Bruning points out the driver of the plow did not work for ODOT. Bruning is urging Ohioans to stay home unless absolutely necessary because the fewer drivers on the road, the easier and quicker snow plows can work to get the job done.