How local areas are dealing with a shortage of snowplow drivers

Farmer’s Almanac Has Released Its Winter Weather Forecast
Posted at 5:57 AM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-15 07:02:15-05

(WXYZ) — Although we have some warmth headed our way, you better believe we are bound for a snowstorm or two in our near future.

However, a lack of snowplow drivers could impact the roads this winter. Some counties are doing better than others when it comes to drivers. The goal is to hire more, but also create a plan to make up for the shortages.

"We do have a shortage, but we also have a plan," Beverly Watts, the director of the Department of Public Services in Wayne County, said.

Currently, Wayne County is short 40-50 snowplow drivers. When fully staffed, they have around 180 drivers.

Watts said they are relying on the experience levels of their drivers, some with 20 years on the job.

They will also be pulling people from different departments who have a CDL license for help.

"We also have CDL holders that work in our parks division, who maintain our parks, so we will be utilizing the park staff as well during our snow and ice occurrences," Watts said.

Watts said people who have retired who also have CDL licenses have volunteered to help when needed.

In Macomb County, they say they are ready for what winter hands them and they are "adequately staffed," but it wouldn't hurt to have a few more drivers.

"We are sustainable. We can handle any snowstorm right now with the drivers we have, but obviously, we could definitely use more help," Jared Boyd, the foreman at the Clinton Service Center, said.

They have 125 employees ready to clear the roads.

One county that is fully staffed is Oakland County. They have a few more drivers than they did last year – 170 full-time employees ready to plow and salt the roads, with 17 full-time drivers recently hired.

This year, the count has offered to train these drivers.

"In the past we have always required our snowplow drivers to have a CDL with an A-designation," Craig Bryson from the Road Commission for Oakland County, said. "Because we couldn't find enough people ith the CDL-A, we decided to get them without the CDL and train them."

The main message with each county is they all believe they have a plan in place to make sure the roads are taken care of this winter.

Keep in mind, the counties often work together, so if one county is hit harder than another, they will offer drivers to get the roads cleared.