ST. LOUIS – The colder weather over the past few days is a reminder to all of us that winter isn’t far off, and on Thursday, more evidence of the approaching winter season will be revealed as MoDOT conducts its annual statewide Winter Operations Drill.
MoDOT is facing an issue of people power. Officials said they simply don’t have enough plow operators to fully staff trucks during a larger winter storm. That means roads could take longer to clear.
The interstate of Highway 40 and Ballas Road is a key corridor that MoDOT trucks focus on clearing when winter weather hits.
Modot shared that during the Winter Operations Drill, drivers may see more MoDOT trucks on roadways with snowplows attached to them. MoDOT leaders told us the drill gives them a chance to basically test their battle plan in responding to winter weather. Plows will drive snow routes and vehicle equipment will be tested.
Modot explained that with its high turnover rate and with many positions still open, the driver training during this drill is critical. Across the state, MoDOT officials said they are nearly 30% below the staffing that they need in order to cover more than one 12-hour shift in a statewide storm.
For Thursday’s drill in rural areas, crews will hit roads after 8:00 a.m. In more urban areas, they will wait until after 9:00 a.m. The exercise should be done by 3:00 p.m.
MoDOT spent more than $53 million last year on winter operations. They used over 151,000 tons of salt, 2.4 million gallons of salt brine, and 454,000 gallons of beet juice. Lots of material used to battle winter storms.