CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Transportation wants to remind motorists about its Snowplow Priority Plan ahead of the upcoming winter season.
The Snowplow Priority Plan prioritizes plowing efforts on 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. The Snowplow Priority Plan can be found on WYDOT’s website.
Like many other industries, WYDOT has experienced challenges with recruiting and retaining personnel, especially snowplow operators, mechanics and troopers. Fortunately, recent winters have been relatively mild and WYDOT was able to meet or exceed the Snowplow Priority Plan by moving crews to where the storm impacts were heaviest.
“WYDOT is dedicated to moving snow and keeping the state connected despite Wyoming’s challenging winters,” said WYDOT 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 WYDOT’s strategy for the upcoming winter. Additionally, WYDOT has given its qualified employees the opportunity to volunteer to help plow snow during severe storms. However, WYDOT 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. Motorists may experience increased winter hazards like ice and drifting snow in these areas this winter, especially during heavy, multi-day storms.
Additionally, Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers are experiencing staffing shortages, which will likely also contribute to longer response times for nonemergency calls like VIN inspections, loose livestock or crashes with no injuries. In some cases, WHP may call for crash information rather than driving to the scene.
Parts for snowplows and trooper vehicles are also becoming increasingly backordered 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, WYDOT urges motorists to slow down and give snowplows and troopers ample room to work this winter. Keeping our 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, WYDOT encourages motorists to keep a vehicle winter emergency kit and to check www.wyoroad.info or the Wyoming 511 app for latest road conditions prior to traveling.
WYDOT is hiring snowplow operators, dispatchers, Troopers, mechanics and other positions statewide. To see open positions and apply, visit our hiring website.