WYDOT Releases Snowplow Priority Plan for Winter 2022 – And is Still Short on Drivers
Written by Andrew-Rossi on November 1, 2022
With winter approaching, W.Y.D.O.T. reminds Wyoming residents of the department’s Snowplow Priority Plan – which means they may find certain routes unplowed during heavy snowstorms.
The Snowplow Priority Plan prioritizes plowing efforts on the busiest highways, like interstates, before rural routes. The plan helps to strategize plowing to maximize community connectivity while maintaining cost-effective operations. Road shoulders may not get plowed immediately, and crews may have to get to clean up work the next day.
Like many other industries, W.Y.D.O.T. has experienced challenges recruiting and retaining personnel, especially snowplow operators, mechanics, and troopers. Fortunately, recent winters have been mild, and W.Y.D.O.T. could meet or exceed the Snowplow Priority Plan by moving crews to where the storm impacts were heaviest.
“W.Y.D.O.T. is dedicated to moving snow and keeping the state connected despite Wyoming’s challenging winters,” said W.Y.D.O.T. Director Luke Reiner. “The agency is certainly not immune to nationwide labor and supply chain challenges, but we will do everything in our power to continue to meet our mission despite these obstacles.”
Moving crews based in areas less impacted by a storm to the routes seeing the heaviest weather conditions will continue to be W.Y.D.O.T.’s strategy for the upcoming winter.
Additionally, W.Y.D.O.T. has allowed its qualified employees to volunteer to help plow snow during severe storms. However, W.Y.D.O.T. staffing levels are at the point now where widespread winter storms may impact plowing efforts to levels below what is indicated on the Snowplow Priority Plan.
Crews currently seeing the most severe staffing shortages include Rock Springs, Hulett, Shirley Rim, LaBarge, Reno Junction, Patrick Draw, and Muddy Gap, among others. As a result, motorists may experience increased winter hazards like ice and drifting snow in these areas this winter, especially during heavy, multi-day storms.
The Snowplow Priority Plan can be found on W.Y.D.O.T.’s website.
Additionally, Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers are experiencing staffing shortages, contributing to longer response times for nonemergency calls like V.I.N. inspections, loose livestock, or crashes with no injuries. In some cases, W.H.P. may call for crash information rather than drive to the scene.
Parts for snowplows and trooper vehicles are also becoming increasingly back-ordered and delayed, which can prolong the time vehicles are in the shop rather than on the roads.
Regardless of an area’s potential staffing or equipment challenges, W.Y.D.O.T. urges motorists to slow down and give snowplows and troopers ample room to work this winter.
Keeping employees safe and the equipment on the roads rather than in the shop is crucial to the agency’s efforts to meet the Snowplow Priority Plan and other agency missions and goals.
Like every winter season, W.Y.D.O.T. encourages motorists to keep a winter emergency kit and check www.wyoroad.info or the Wyoming 511 app for the latest road conditions before traveling.
W.Y.D.O.T. is hiring snowplow operators, dispatchers, Troopers, mechanics, and other positions statewide. To see open positions and apply, visit the department’s hiring website.