As winter hits, Colorado sees shortage of snowplow drivers | CraigDailyPress.com
YOUR AD HERE »

As winter hits, Colorado sees shortage of snowplow drivers

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck/Steamboat Pilot & Today
A Colorado Department of Transportation plow clears U.S. Highway 40 in January 2012.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As winter weather descends on the state, there’s a shortage of snowplow drivers in Colorado.

Across the state, the Colorado Department of Transportation is still seeking to fill more than 100 snowplow drivers and highway maintenance employees. There’s currently at least one vacancy for a part-time employee on the Rabbit Ears Pass route.

“Nationwide, there’s a shortage of drivers that have a commercial driver’s license, and it’s impacting how many people we have out maintaining our roadways,” said CDOT Human Resources Director Susan Rafferty in a news release. “As we continue our push to hire more drivers, we’re doing what we can to better attract additional personnel.”

Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Dakota have sought to hire more snowplow operators than state transportation agencies could fill, according to the transit industry news organization Transport Topics.

Locally, Routt County has filled all positions for seasonal snowplow drivers, said Geovanny Romero, project manager at Routt County Public Works. Some private snowplow services have permits to plow unmaintained county roads.

The city is still looking to fill one full-time position, Steamboat Springs Street Superintendent David Van Winkle said. This means other snowplow operators are increasing routes to cover the entire city, causing delays in coverage.

“In the meantime, I am plowing a route to ensure we maintain the level of service we currently have and hoping that we can find an operator in the near future,” he said.

CDOT has also loosened its Colorado residency requirements for plow operators. The agency has said it increased pay for temporary employees from $19 to $22 an hour and is allowing retired CDOT maintenance employees to earn $25 an hour or more to return to the wheel of a snowplow.

Municipal snowplow operators earn between $19 to $25 an hour, Van Winkle said.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User