(Jefferson City) -- Missouri’s road cleanup crews could be in a major workforce dilemma this winter.
The Missouri Department of Transportation has a shortfall of more than 400 plow truck drivers and heavy equipment operators.
During a legislative committee hearing, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna says he is concerned about the shortage growing this winter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the snow and ice start flying, the impacts could trickle down to drivers out on the roadways.
“We’re very concerned that if we don’t stop the pandemic at the doors of MoDOT, that about 80 counties are served by one single maintenance facility from MoDOT. And if we have the whole crew, for instance we do have one crew that is entirely quarantined,” says McKenna. “If we lose a crew, which knocks out a maintenance facility for a two-week period in the middle of winter, we could have a severe impact on the essential service we provide during winter to the traveling public. I would say that is my primary concern right now.”
McKenna says the department is hiring plow truck drivers and heavy equipment operators. The workers handle things like plowing the snow and ice off roads, spreading salt and sand.