(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Thursday, the Missouri Department of Transportation held its annual winter operations drill.
While northwest Missouri hasn't seen any snow on the ground yet, the big yellow trucks were back out on the roads to practice for the region's infamous winter weather.
“Our field crews get back out there in the trucks and start driving those. They get familiar with the routes, the trucks and the plows,” said Mary Liles, District Engineer for MoDOT Northwest.
Crews were deployed to react to a simulated snow forecast for the entire state. The drill began at 8 a.m. in rural areas and 9 a.m. for urban areas. The annual practice lasted until 3 p.m.
While crews spent their day simulating plowing through a snow day, MoDOT officials warn drivers the real thing may look different this year. MoDOT said streets may not be plowed as quickly this winter as the department is facing statewide staffing shortages.
“Obviously, if you don’t have the people then it’s going to affect the level of service, right?” said Liles, “If we have a situation where that snow event lasts more than 12 hours, we’re going to struggle to keep people in the trucks.”
Liles said over the past six months, MoDOT has lost roughly 70 employees per month.
“Against our best efforts, we’ve been trying all summer to fill those positions, but we’re still struggling,” said Liles, "On a statewide level, that’s significant. We’re several hundred people down at this time which is not where we want to be.”
MoDOT hopes to fill the empty seats so Missouri drivers don't have to take the brunt of the vacancies this winter.
If you're interested in learning more about the open positions available at MoDOT, CLICK HERE.