Nature

Six States’ Winter Travel Could Possibly be Slower, Here’s Why

When a winter storm hits, a whole fleet is usually needed to clear 49,000 lane miles of road, yet job applications for snowplow drivers are down to around 50% when compared to usual.

Snowplow clearing streets

(Photo : Getty Images)

Preparation For Winter Season

The salt barns have been supplied, the trucks are ready, and all the pre-checks have been completed by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) so that the roads will be clear amid the winter season which is around the corner. A scarcity of snowplow drivers in Ohio and at least five other states is a major setback.

Snowplow drivers are still needed in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oregon, Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Rhode Island, and Wyoming, where the roadways are regularly covered with snow throughout the winter.

These six states are also trying to employ more than 100 workers for the position: Ohio; Pennsylvania; Michigan; Oregon; Missouri; and Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which relies heavily on snowplow operations throughout the winter, is experiencing a shortage of 18-19 percent of its workforce, according to CDOT director of maintenance and operations John Lorme.

There is often a 10% shortage in the department due to promotions and turnover of work, for example. On top of 190 permanent employment for entry-level maintenance, around 100 temporary roles are available as well, he said.

In addition, the ODOT has around 190 unfilled vacancies. ODOT Public Information Officer Matt Bruning said that traditionally, most of its seasonal workers came from rural sections of the state.

Also Read: Asia Should Prepare for a Possibly Harsh Winter Due to La Niña

Goals of ODOT 

People with commercial driver’s licenses have more possibilities, so finding seasonal workers in the cities is a little more difficult. However, this year proved to be a more serious challenge generally.

According to Bruning, the ODOT is in charge of 49,000 lane-miles of highway in Ohio, which includes all state and U.S. roads outside of towns and all interstates. The aim of ODOT is to make the main routes free within two hours of the conclusion of a snow event and the secondary road within four hours.

Bruning added that, despite the department’s 95% success rate, this year could be a little more difficult.

Bruning warned that delays may occur if the company lacked the necessary number of drivers to complete the project on time.

Job fairs and social media are being used by both organizations, and the CDOT has even changed its recruiting methods. However, this year CDOT may educate and certify commercial motor vehicle operators after employing workers with no past experience.

As a result, this winter’s road conditions may be more difficult for drivers than in previous years.

 People push a taxi cab stuck on snow covered street during a winter storm

(Photo : Getty Images)

Challenges Motorists Face Amid Winter Season

NBC Montana reports that Goodyear expects to be 5 million short of tires this year, which might affect winter travel throughout the winter. Some people attribute the impending shortfall to a lack of rubber and workers, as well as a backlog.

According to WBRE, tire salesmen at Kelleher Tire in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, are advising clients to acquire snow tires sooner rather than later this season since supply and demand may impact last-minute buyers.

A $100 tire now costs $120 because of a 20% increase in snow tire prices since the beginning of the year.

Related Article: Antarctic Chill: The South Pole Just Experienced its Coldest Winter in History

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