MISSOURI — Snow plows out on the roads on a sunny, 74-degree day can mean only one thing—wintry weather is just around the corner.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is combatting the critical shortage of qualified plow drivers with a dry run-thru Thursday. New drivers ran their routes to get familiar with any curbs and raised islands that might be hidden once snow or ice starts falling.
MODOT’s Southwest Missouri region has also budgeted one to two million dollars extra this year to help with inflation and supply issues. The pressing issue, though, continues to be finding and training people to man the district’s 450 plows.
“If it’s a snow event that hits the whole southwest and everybody’s all hands on deck and all the roads and we’re all going… in the southwest, I want to say we’re down 150 people right now. And that number goes up and down,” said Marvin Morris, MODOT SW Area Engineer.
MODOT spent more than $53 million last winter and used more than 151,000 tons of salt, 2.4 million gallons of salt brine, and 454,000 gallons of beet juice.
Joplin’s average first snowfall is in mid-November–just about a month away.