The Colorado Department of Transportation is working to hire more than 100 full and part-time highway maintenance and snowplow drivers as winter approaches, and has upped its pay to attract new workers.
The department has increased its pay rate for highway maintenance employees from $19 an hour to $22 an hour, and is allowing retired maintenance workers to drive plow trucks for $25 an hour (or their hourly rate while they were still employed by CDOT if it was hired).
Bob Wilson, a spokesperson for CDOT, said the 100 workers needed makes up a little more than 10 percent of their maintenance driver workforce.
"We do the best we can, but a lot of times when you get storms that hit extremely hard it can create a lot of havoc in a very short period of time," Wilson said.
Wilson also said that during storms, CDOT will focus on clearing major roadways first and foremost.
"We’re always going to put the focus on those roadways, so [the shortage] is not going to really impact these roadways because we’re always going to throw our resources, first, towards those primary roadways," he said. "But a lesser used state highway, it may take us a little bit longer to get to that particular roadway."
CDOT has also been authorized to hand out six-month residency waivers to allow drivers to be hired from out-of-state, according to a news release that was distributed on Tuesday morning.
These incentives are due to what CDOT said is a national shortage of workers with a commercial driver’s license.
Hiring will take place at the following locations, according to CDOT:
- Metropolitan Denver
- Interstate 70 mountain corridor (Idaho Springs, Empire, Vail Pass, Wolcott)
- Northern Front Range (Loveland)
- Northwest Colorado (Granby, Rabbit Ears Pass, Walden)
- West-Central/Southwest Colorado (Fairplay, Gunnison, Silverton, Telluride)
- Eastern Plains/Northeast Colorado (Limon, Hugo, New Raymer, Anton, Sterling)
- South-Central (La Veta)
For more information about the positions and to apply, click here: bit.ly/CDOTcareers2018.
Wilson also offered the following tips for drivers before they head onto the roads:
- Know if it's going to be dry or snowy.
- Determine if you need extra time or need to prepare a bit more.
- Bring extra clothing, energy bars and water.
Wilson said CDOT is also short on Bustang drivers. Bustang is CDOT's regular statewide bus service that launched in July 2015.
"Right now they can keep the routes open, but at times they have had to cut back on routes," Wilson said. "The buses are a popular service, and many people have asked them to expand, but they can’t because there are not enough drivers."