Breaking News
More () »

IDOT, MoDOT prep for winter despite driver shortage

The national weather service is focusing on winter weather preparedness in the Midwest from Nov. 7 - 11.

TROY, Ill. — While thermometers won't show it right now, winter is fast approaching. 

The National Weather Service is taking this week to get us ready for the icy season.

This year one of the services we rely on most is struggling. 

"We are like most businesses, we need help," IDOT District 8 Operations Engineer Joseph Monroe told 5 On Your Side. "We need CDL drivers."

Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) yards can have all the trucks ready to go, but without drivers they are useless. 

"We are down 8% to 12% depending on where you are at," Monroe said. "In an urban setting, we are consistently down 10% to 12%. We are still hiring, so we are hoping those numbers would pick up, but it will be a bigger challenge this year than it was last year."

It certainly doesn't help that IDOT is in direct competition with Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) for drivers. 

"MoDOT is nearly 30% below statewide numbers, that's roughly 1000 employees statewide that we are below the numbers needed for winter operations," MoDOT Assistant District Engineer Michelle Forneris said in a late-October press conference. 

5 On Your Side checked in with the department Monday morning. In an email, MoDOT said their numbers have not changed significantly from the October update. 

At the October press conference, Forneris said what that means with that critical staffing shortage of qualified snowplow operators, it will take us longer to get there.

The transportation companies aren't the only ones with work to do, we have to get prepped too and here's an expert tip from IDOT's Joseph Monroe.

"For those of us that have to be out in it, couple cans of deicer in with windshield washer fluid might help a little bit," Monroe said.

If there's something newsworthy happening where you live send us an email to tips@ksdk.com and our team of reporters will look into it.


Before You Leave, Check This Out