Colorado sees shortage of snowplow drivers |

Colorado sees shortage of snowplow drivers

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck
Steamboat Pilot & Today
A Colorado Department of Transportation plow clears U.S. Highway 40 in January 2012.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As winter weather descends on the state, there’s a shortage of snowplow drivers in Colorado.

Across the state, the Colorado Department of Transportation is still seeking to fill more than 100 snowplow drivers and highway maintenance employees. There’s currently at least one vacancy for a part-time employee on the Rabbit Ears Pass route.

“Nationwide, there’s a shortage of drivers that have a commercial driver’s license, and it’s impacting how many people we have out maintaining our roadways,” said CDOT Human Resources Director Susan Rafferty in a news release. “As we continue our push to hire more drivers, we’re doing what we can to better attract additional personnel.”

Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Dakota have sought to hire more snowplow operators than state transportation agencies could fill, according to the transit industry news organization Transport Topics.

CDOT has also loosened its Colorado residency requirements for plow operators. The agency has said it increased pay for temporary employees from $19 to $22 an hour and is allowing retired CDOT maintenance employees to earn $25 an hour or more to return to the wheel of a snowplow.

Municipal snowplow operators earn between $19 to $25 an hour, Van Winkle said.

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