Plow truck operator shortage likely this winter

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VERMONT (WFFF) — You have most likely seen the “Help Wanted” signs in the windows of many businesses as worker shortages continue to hit hard across many industries. But with winter weather and snow inevitable many wondered if this could impact Vermont’s ability to keep our roads clear.

Essex, Vermont Public Works Director Dennis Lutz says there are concerns. “Neighboring communities all around Vermont are short of heavy-duty truck drivers, bus drivers as well… but especially plow truck operators.”

According to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, out of the usual 350 plow operators, V-TRANS is understaffed by about 50 people on both sides.

“We do have some shortages especially around Chittenden County so we are actively recruiting,” said Todd Law, District Maintenance and Fleet Division at V-TRANS.

But hiring new operators isn’t easy, since it requires sometimes three to five years of training.

“It just takes too long to train a person. You can’t hire a person who can drive a truck and have them ready to hop into a winter plow truck. It’s just too complicated. There are just too many controls, too many things to do wrong.” said Lutz.

Supply chain shortages nationwide may make for a double problem. “Orders that we put in for equipment normally in march right after town meeting, for the next year we would usually see them in August or September. This last winter we didn’t get a new truck until January or February,” said Lutz.

V-TRANS says, however, they will find a solution if staff shortages remain. “We are looking right now at adjusting routes and potentially moving people between garages. So we do have some things we can do to make sure the plows are full for the winter season,” said Law.

If you are interested in employment opportunities you can find details Vermont State website.

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