Tri-State departments work to overcome snowplow driver shortage

Tri-State departments work to overcome snowplow driver shortage
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 5:01 PM EST
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KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - Kenton County Public Services is turning to seasonal employees as they deal with a shortage of snowplow drivers.

Public Services Supervisor Rick Buster says fewer drivers means longer shifts for those who are working.

“Everyone who is hired on knows what they’re walking into, so we operate on a split shift,” Buster said. “Working 12 hours on 12 hours off; that way, depending on the length of the event, everything is covered.”

The shortage of drivers is not keeping Buster, and his crews, from giving their all to get the job done.

Kenton County Public Services sent 12 trucks to treat their 300 lane miles for the incoming winter weather, according to Buster.

Kenton County is not alone when it comes to a lack of snowplow drivers.

Campbell County said the shortage they are experiencing could lead to a delay in clearing some roads.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is having to overcome the same issues as Kenton and Campbell counties.

“We feel good about staffing even with some of our shorter numbers with shortages in different parts of the states,” said ODOT Press Secretary Matt Bruning. “It’s not that we are not going to get the job done. The issue will be just how quickly can we get the job done?”

Each winter, ODOT looks to hire around 500 seasonal positions.

As of Thursday, they have hired about 70% of that 500.

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One issue ODOT says is retaining CDL drivers in their major cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus.

A CDL license can open many doors for certified drivers in major cities. So, those certified drivers may not want to become snowplow drivers, which limits ODOT’s applicants.

To help get more Ohio residents their CDL licenses, the state is offering CDL student aid.

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