KDOT continues to contend with staffing shortages; highway snow, ice removal could be impacted

The Kansas Department of Transportation is committed to keeping the highways clear whenever inclement weather impacts the state.

However, KDOT staffing shortages create the potential for highways to not be cleared of snow and ice in a timely manner. The agency is in need of equipment operators – the agency’s primary snowplow operators.

The agency has dealt with reduced staffing in the past, but the shortages have been greater in recent years. Across the state, KDOT is about 25% short of its preferred number of snowplow operators needed to be fully staffed.

“KDOT field crews always do their best, but with less staff, it could cause delays to clear snow and ice from the highways,” said KDOT Director of Field Operations Clay Adams. “We are able to pull in crews from across the state to affected areas, but that’s not always possible depending on the scope and severity of winter storms.”

KDOT snowplow operators work 12-hour shifts. Highways and bridges will be pretreated in advance of approaching storms when possible.

The agency also will deploy employees – including supervisors and managers – with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to plow snow and will hire seasonal employees. KDOT assists selected applicants in obtaining a CDL, including providing training. Persons interested in working at KDOT can apply at https://kdotapp.ksdot.gov/KDOTJobs/Default.

KDOT field offices made preparations in September and October to be ready for snow and ice season, or SNICE. Salt, sand and other materials are fully stocked and pre-maintenance work on snowplows and other equipment is complete.

“Motorists can do their part to be prepared by checking on road conditions and weather forecasts before heading out and possibly altering or delaying travel plans,” said Secretary Calvin Reed. “Plan ahead and stay informed – these are key to helping you stay safe.”

Check the www.KanDrive.gov website or use the KanDrive App before traveling. KanDrive provides KDOT’s road condition information. KanDrive is updated 24/7 for highway conditions, short-term closures and general traffic alerts, and provides camera views of current road conditions in that area. The Kansas 511 phone system gives reports on a specific route, in a city or between two cities.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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