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Shortage of plow drivers means longer waits for clear roads in some parts of Ohio

 Ohio Department of Transportation snowplow
Courtesy Ohio Department of Transportation website
More than 3,000 snowplows are clearing the roads during this winter storm, which is less than previous years because of the shortage of drivers, says the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to have about 1,700 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 3,300 drivers are working to clear roads, down a little from past years because of 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 said.

Bruning says while ODOT would like to have more drivers, it has 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.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.