Snowplow driver shortages in Montgomery County and DC

Montgomery County, Maryland, and D.C. both have a snowplow driver shortage that may impact operations.

About 350 Montgomery County and contracted operators are generally available to clear Montgomery County roadways. The current estimates are that operators are down by 25% to 30%, but the transportation department does not anticipate issues clearing major streets.

D.C. also has a driver shortage. The city is about 40 drivers short but has contractors to backfill those positions, said Chris Geldart, deputy mayor for public safety.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s highway services division said it mobilized crews and contractors at 9 p.m. Sunday in anticipation of the upcoming snowfall event.

But MCDOT highway services chief Richard Dorsey told WTOP that a locally high COVID-19 case count has created a labor shortage and asked residents for patience come Monday morning.

“We’re prepared to take care of all the emergency routes — the primary regions in the county,” Dorsey said, adding that they won’t be able to attend to other areas in fast-moving storm events.

“Residential streets will just take a bit longer, so we’re asking residents to be patient,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey said crews would focus on ensuring that major roads and access to public safety, and health options will be prioritized as they treat county-maintained roads.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said that the community should continue to monitor forecasts and be safe when traveling.

“Our crews will be out on the roads. We want all travelers to give them plenty of room to operate and be patient with snow- and ice-clearing activities,” Elrich said.

County residents curious about when their streets will be cleared can visit the county’s snow portal for up-to-date information.

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Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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