SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s only a matter of time before the snow flakes start flying. DPW crews are working to make sure they have enough plow drivers for this winter as shortages continue across the board.
22News found out how prepared the city of Springfield is, and what needs to be done to make sure they are ready. The DPW says it would be ready to handle a snowstorm but it would take a little longer to plow every street in the city.
“We’re not in great shape right now.” said Chris Cignoli, Springfield Public Works Director. Cignoli is hoping to get enough plow drivers before the first snowstorm of the season. The city of Springfield has seen a decline in the number of plow operators over the past few years.
“We’ve had a 150 pieces of equipment in the past. It has steadily gone down hill in the last four to five years where last year we were barely at 100.” said Cignoli.
Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle more than 26,000 pounds requires a higher level of knowledge, experience, and skills. In order to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL, an applicant must pass both a medical exam and road test. Cignoli said most people pass the medical exam. In fact, he said between 40 and 60 drivers have taken the medical exam over the last six to seven years and only about one to two have failed. It’s the CDL road test that gives drivers trouble. To help attract more drivers, incentives are being offered.
“One of the things we have done over the past couple of years is increase the rates but also increase an incentive rate for people to sign up early so that we can get people under contract so that if we get a snowstorm now we have as may people under contract now.” said Cignoli.
This is not just a Springfield issue, it’s a problem seen nationwide. The DPW says like always, they are ready and prepared for a storm.