Manpower Shortage In Eastern Oregon Makes Snow And Ice Removal Harder

Manpower Shortage: Within the Eastern Oregon region of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s road maintenance team, there are almost 40 open positions, both seasonal and permanent, that need to be filled. The majority of these openings are for snowplough drivers, who are responsible for clearing roads and highways of snow and ice.

Rich Lani, a regional district manager for ODOT, described the situation as “a battle.” “It’s been a fight,”

Manpower Shortage In Eastern Oregon Makes Snow And Ice Removal Harder

In the region that spans east from Morrow County to Grant and Wheeler County, there is now a vacancy rate of twenty per cent, which presents a challenge when it comes to maintaining road coverage twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

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“We’re trying to be creative with shifts, and we have some days where we don’t have coverage in the early hours of the morning,” said Lani. “We have some days where we don’t have coverage in the early hours of the morning.”

According to ODOT, one of the reasons for the driver shortage is increased licencing regulations implemented by the federal government, which have resulted in lengthier wait periods to obtain a commercial driver’s licence. This has led to an increase in the demand for drivers.

Manpower Shortage In Eastern Oregon Makes Snow And Ice Removal Harder
Manpower Shortage In Eastern Oregon Makes Snow And Ice Removal Harder

ODOT also stated that they pay for new snow plough drivers to complete their training in order to earn a CDL, but after the six-month snow shovel season is through, many of them choose to quit the agency and look for new employment.

Lani remarked that it would not be difficult to find work for them now. “They already have this Class A CDL in their possession, so a lot of private industry will try to entice them away with the promise of higher salary and employment all year round.”

Lani believes that drivers in Oregon may assist the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) by being extra cautious in order to prevent accidents, particularly when driving on roads that are covered with snow.

In inclement weather, snowplough drivers are frequently dispatched to the scene of an accident to assist in clearing lanes and debris. This can result in fewer workers being available to clear snow in other areas of the highway.

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“It thins us out,” was all he had to say about it. “Take your time, always be prepared, and adjust your driving style to the weather and road conditions.”

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