MIDVALE, Utah — With snow in the forecast for the Salt Lake valley, snowplow crews are preparing to get to work.
However, with winter weather looming, potential labor shortages could play a role in how quickly roads are cleared.
Salt Lake County Public Works clears roads for Magna, Kearns, Copperton, White City, Brighton, Emigration Canyon, Millcreek, Taylorsville, and Holladay.
Right now, the department is looking to fill between 10-15 open positions. Most of these jobs include roles like concrete layers and sweeper operators in warm months. Those employees also drive snowplows.
“All of these employees that we have plow snow during the winter,” said Leon Barrett, the associate director of operations for Salt Lake County public works. “So, when we have a deficit of employees in summer to perform these jobs, it carries over into the winter and then we have a deficit of snowplow drivers.”
Despite being short about a dozen workers, Barrett doesn’t anticipate any major problems once snow begins to fall.
“Not that much troubling, we have great employees to begin with,” Barrett said. “What it means is it will take a little longer to clear the roads than we normally take.”
The Utah Department of Transportation, which plows interstates and state roads also says it is facing challenges with hiring and turnover.
In a statement, a UDOT spokesperson said, “In the Salt Lake valley, we have slightly fewer drivers than is typical at this time of year.”
The statement adds, “To address potential vacant positions at any of our maintenance stations, we may share equipment and crews from surrounding areas to ensure coverage.”
Salt Lake county plow drivers will likely earn overtime as they navigate through this labor shortage and winter.
“The roads will still be cleared. It may take a little longer,” Barrett said. “That’s where you have to have some patience with our drivers”
Those who would like to apply for open positions can click here. The county says it will offer paid training to those who are offered a position.