MoDOT experiencing labor shortage ahead of winter season

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – When a snowstorm hits the Show-Me State, the Missouri Department of Transportation is responsible for clearing the streets.

But as things stand right now, the department is down around 1,000 drivers from the normal 3,400 to cover 34,000 lane miles across the state. 

Southeast District Engineer Mark Croarkin said the real challenge will come when a storm impacts the whole state. 

“We’ve gotten used to moving employees around to help,” he said. “If it doesn’t snow here, I’ll send people to St. Louis. If it doesn’t snow in St. Louis, they may come help me. But when it hits the entire state, we just simply don’t have enough drivers to fill all of our trucks.” 

Croarkin said he has had some success recruiting new and recently retired drivers. 

“We are beating the streets trying to look for people who have a CDL who might come in and work for us,” he said. “The salary for people who have a CDL is $20.55 during a storm. Those are people we only call in when it snows. We do a little training and have to get them on our books ahead of time.” 

So, how much longer will it take to clear the roads during a major storm? 

“If you were used to seeing a truck out on the interstate every hour, it might be every hour and a half. If you were used to seeing a truck on a rural road every day, it might be a day and a half or two days before you see a truck if it’s a statewide storm,” Croarkin said.

It will be all hands on deck when a storm hits. 

“We have to work as one team more than ever before to keep our major roads open and safe, and that is exactly what we are going to do,” Croarkin said. “We are going to work across the state at the highest-volume routes like the interstates and the major routes, and then we will work our way backwards to the local roads.” 

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