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Mid-Missouri public works departments warn of delays, citing lack of staff


Mid-Missouri public works departments have already started preparing for the first snowfall since winter.

Columbia Public Works says it has 34 snow vehicles available to this winter season. The department says it is going into the winter with the same amount of staffing as last winter, which is 20% below what it would like to have on staff.

All major roads will be plowed first with neighborhood roads coming last.

Columbia Public Works Public Information Specialist John Ogan said the department has a good outlook for the season. However, Ogan says when working large snow events, there could be delays when clearing the roads.

The department says many of its positions require a commercial drivers license, but some vehicles are pickup trucks that city workers can drive without a CDL.

The Columbia Public Works Department says it has open positions and encourage anyone with any interest in plowing snow for the community to visit Individuals should look for open Public Works positions.

In October, MoDOT said it's facing a major driver shortage, with staff 30% below where it needs to be to take care of statewide storms.

Jefferson City Public Works Department says it is fully staffed and have about five new drivers and 24 plows. Britt Smith, Operations Division Director at Jefferson City Public Works, says because some trucks are aging, they are working to get two new vehicles.

Officials also recommend drivers begin their winter preparations. Outside of quality winter clothing, drivers will need some specific items in case of an emergency.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers should keep emergency items such as jumper cables, flashlights and warning devices including flares and emergency markers in their car.

If you can't use your vehicle's heat, blankets can give protection from the cold as well. The NHTSA says its also necessary to have a cell phone, phone charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine.

Some recommended items to have in the car during winter are a broom, an ice scraper, and abrasive material (sand or kitty litter) in case the car gets stuck in the snow.

Cold weather can also kill a vehicle's battery. NHTSA says having a mechanic check your battery, charging system, belts, and any other needed repairs or replacements is good practice.

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Joushua Blount

Joushua Blount hails from Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in media communications from the University of Toledo. He also has a master’s degree from the University Of Alabama. Roll Tide!

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Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.


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