MISSOURI — You may not be thinking about snow, ice, and slippery roads during sunny 70-degree weather, but the Missouri Department of Transportation sure is.
MODOT crews participated in the statewide winter weather drill Thursday. The National Weather Service gave a mock forecast that called for heavy snow in the Kansas City area. And, Thursday’s drill helped staff run through how MODOT might shift drivers and resources statewide to help cover problematic roads.
Practicing helps keep everything running smoothly, including helping with the ongoing shortage of drivers. MODOT officials say they still need several hundred statewide. Plus, 30% of their drivers have less than three years experience and, several brand new drivers will be plowing snow for the very first time this year.
“We’ll help them, you know, hook up the plow. They’ll get in the truck, and they’ll generally do a ride-along with a more experienced operator. So, they’ll drive the route with the plow, they’ll figure out where their turnaround points are to make sure we have overlap for that route so we have good coverage,” said Darin Hamelink, MODOT.
MODOT spent $33 million on winter operations last season, and officials say that’s a “light” winter. The figure is usually around $50 million dollars.