Preparing for a nor'easter during a snowplow driver shortage
As Massachusetts prepares for a weekend nor'easter, snow removal remains a major concern amidst a shortage of snowplow operators from coast to coast.
City managers say while there are shortages, they couldn't ask for a better time for this storm to arrive due to the rush hour-free days of Saturday and Sunday.
"We don't have any commuter traffic, and you don't have children in school," Paul Cohen, Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Town Manager, said.
Chelmsford, located about 25 miles northwest of Boston, continues to have trouble hiring snowplow drivers, and it's not the only town.
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"It's just a combination of things. Part of it is the COVID crisis and the shortage of truck drivers, there just aren't as many people available to drive trucks," Cohen said. "Also, it's not really great work to do. You know, your hours are unpredictable. Over the weekend, you could be plowing for twenty-four plus hours straight."
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In some cases, more than $100 an hour is being offered to plow, and the city continues to find more incentives to hire drivers.
"We've offered signing bonuses, we've offered incentives for a response percentage of storms completed. We're offering even vehicles, saying we have extra vehicles just come and drive with the KDL license. So, we're trying everything," Cohen explained.
And with it being the first major winter storm of the season and lack of drivers, Cohen is asking residents to be patient.
"We'll keep the main roads clean, but it may take a while to get to some of the secondary roads," Cohen said