KDOT warns staffing shortages could impact ability to clear highways this winter

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 9:50 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A staff shortage among the state’s snowplow operators has the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) concerned about highway conditions come winter.

The agency said they are about 30% short on operators needed to be fully staffed across the state. They said these shortages could cause highways to not be cleared of snow and ice as quickly as in the past.

“KDOT is facing significant staffing shortages in some areas and will work proactively to clear Kansas highways by shifting crews to affected areas and pretreating highways and bridges whenever possible,” said Secretary Julie Lorenz. “Our snowplow operators work 12-hour shifts and do their best to keep the roads open and the public moving.”

The agency said it has dealt with reduced staffing in the past, but this year the need is greater. To help address the shortage, KDOT is utilizing all employees who have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to plow snow as well as hiring seasonal employees.

“We want motorists to understand why it could take longer this season to clear highways during storms,” said Secretary Lorenz. “Knowing this allows motorists to plan ahead, alter or even delay travel plans, which in turn helps them stay safe.”

Anyone interested in working at KDOT can visit the state’s employment website to apply. The agency said they will help applicants get a CDL and pay for training.

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