While snow has already blanketed roads in our area this season, it took road crews in certain counties longer to get them plowed.
"It's continuing to get more difficult," Robb Dean, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation assistant district executive of maintenance, said.
For the second straight year, finding drivers for the big yellow trucks is an issue. There's a shortage of plow drivers in Washington, Greene, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.
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"We've been continually feeling the pressure of filling all the openings," Dean said.
That area makes up PennDOT District 12, which needs more than 100 temporary plow drivers to help salt and clear 3,600 miles of state roads.
Dean said the cause of the shortage is that too many industries use CDL drivers.
"All the other fields -- the Marcellus Shale, the other industries, the construction industry -- we hire similar qualified individuals," Dean said.
Dean said last year they hired about 75 of the 103 drivers they needed. This year, they're about 70 short.
Despite that, Dean said they still get the roads cleared.
"There is no safety concerns," Dean said. "We are still going to get to the roads; we're still gonna maintain system, but it does require us to work differently."
Dean added drivers need to be patient.
PennDOT District 12 officials said they offer some on the job training and encourage people to apply. They added it can often turn into a full-time job.
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