Snow plow driver shortage: companies and counties aim to clear roads, despite shortages

The work week is starting with three to four inches of snow on the ground, bringing out the salt trucks and snow plow drivers. At least, typically. But many are sick and that's slowing the snow removal process in some places.

A winter weather advisory is in place until 7 p.m. on Monday as several inches of snow have been falling throughout the day.

With the snow falling, it made the roads, parking lots, and sidewalks slick. For companies like DEQ Property Services, they had to get crafty to get things cleared.

"We are a little bit short on staff in terms of plow drivers, salt drivers, sidewalks. Across the board in the industry, we’re all short," Jack Redburn III said. "What we did today we stagger-started all of of our guys instead of coming in at 10 am we have drivers just now coming in at 1, 2, 3 o'clock so they can make it through business hours when they close."

DEQ isn't the only one figuring it out. Troy Clogg Landscape Associates HR Manager Kacee Moore said they're not struggling to get people to apply for jobs, it's getting them to come in for an interview.

"If we were struggling in any department it would be the sidewalk removal. We will have people that apply and then when we actually call them or have them come in, a lot of times they are not coming in for the actual interview," Moore said.

As private companies work to combat worker shortages, the Road Commission for Oakland County is starting to see some relief, according to Craig Bryson, the Senior Communications Manager.

"Late last year, we were able to bring in close to 20 new drivers. Towards the end of 2021 we could still use a few more, but we've got an adequate number on hand," Bryson said.

Macomb County Department of Roads echos the same message. In a statement, officials tell FOX 2 that they are not currently dealing with any shortages.

Wayne County admits they do have a shortage of snow plow drivers, but the shortage is not severe enough to have an impact on operations.

Over in the city of Detroit, crews were out salting and plowing main thoroughfares since 7:00 am Monday and will work around the clock with a second shift clocking in for the evening.

City officials also say that due to a shortage of drivers in the industry, they will work with staff and drivers to complete their routes in a timely and efficient manner.

Back in the private sector, DEQ and Troy Clogg are using higher wages and bonuses to attract workers.

"We are, I would say, one of the highest paid contractors in the area," Redburn said.

"We do have referral bonuses, we have new hire bonuses, we have paid training, so our company does do a lot, we go above and beyond," Moore said.