KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Transportation is warning drivers that highways might not be cleared of snow and ice in a timely manner this winter.

KDOT said it needs more equipment operators. That position’s primary responsibility is to drive snowplows when needed.

The department has dealt with previous shortages, but never the amount it has dealt with recently. According to KDOT, they are short 25% of its number of operators to be fully staffed.

KDOT Director of Field Operations, Clay Adams, is warning drivers of the slow clean-up times.

“KDOT field crews always do their best, but with less staff, it could cause delays to clear snow and ice from the highways,” Adams said.

“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.”

Highways and bridges will be pretreated in advance of approaching storms when possible, according to a news release.

Calvin Reed, the secretary of KDOT, said there are ways drivers can adjust their plans to help deal with the shortage.

“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,” Reed said. “Plan ahead and stay informed – these are key to helping you stay safe.”

Staff at KDOT’s Olathe office say they are down 18 snow plow operators this year.

In advance of winter weather events and possible emergencies, KDOT advises preparing by keeping the following in your vehicle:

  • Full tank of fuel
  • Cell phone charger
  • First aid kit
  • Ice scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Hats/gloves/blanket
  • Bottled water

KDOT also advises drivers to not pass snow plows when they are on the roads.

The City of Overland Park is offering additional incentives for snow responders this season. 

During the 2023-2024 snow season, the City will pay snow responders:

  • A static participation bonus of $100 per month from November through March
  • A pay differential for their hours worked during snow events, paid in addition to their regular wages (subject to overtime adjustment)

– CDL Driver = $14.00 per hour

– Non-CDL Driver = $7.00 per hour

– Support Staff = $3.00 per hour

You can apply today and receive your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and required training in as little as four weeks.  For more information about snow responder opportunities, visit the City of Overland Park’s website.

You can check FOX4’s website and newscasts for road conditions when winter weather could impact road conditions.