Months ago, the I-Team revealed state road crews and cities were having trouble hiring plow drivers.
So, we checked back.
For much of the day on Monday, you and your neighbors couldn’t see the highways, city roads or side streets because of the snow.
As far back as last fall, the people in charge of your roads warned this kind of snowstorm would be a big test. It’s a bigger test than usual because of a shortage of plow drivers.
The Ohio Department of Transportation tells us this storm has had crews working 12-hour shifts for days.
But, in the Greater Cleveland area, ODOT has only a little better than half of its part-time seasonal plow drivers.
Overall, statewide, ODOT has about 75% of those drivers to help.
ODOT tries to meet a goal every snowstorm, having the highways clear enough for traffic to get back up to normal speeds within two hours after the snow stops falling.
So, what about this time, given the heavy snow falling over such a large part of the state while blowing and drifting?
ODOT spokesman Matt Bruning said, “We have two-thirds of the state involved in a snow event. It’ll take a while to get all the data in and, kind of, grade our job internally.”
Meantime, early Monday morning, the I-Team captured Cleveland Police helping drivers stuck in the snow.
In one exchange on police radio, a dispatcher said, “Can you go help this guy out of the snow? He’s stuck.”
An officer responded with, “I guess we could try. Everybody’s stuck in the snow.”
Cleveland City Hall says it has hired 94 seasonal plow drivers and it has only one more openings.
The city promised to start clearing secondary roads as early as noon on Monday, but FOX 8 cameras saw this storm created a huge challenge for city crews too.
So, if you couldn’t see the road, blame the snow and, maybe, the plow shortage.
We’ll check back with ODOT after the agency has finished its internal review looking at plowing during this event