DPW: City still short 57 snow plow drivers, but that won't affect your streets getting cleared

DPW: City still short 57 snow plow drivers, but that won’t affect your streets getting cleared

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- City leaders said they're fully prepared for major snowfalls in Milwaukee, but they're still feeling the effects of the nationwide labor shortage.

Before you know it, Milwaukee streets will be covered in snow.

Danielle Rodriguez, director of operations for the Department of Public Works, said the city has 55 tons of salt on hand and drivers are ready to go at a moment's notice. The salt is imported through Port Milwaukee.

"The port has already imported more than 800,000 metric tons of salt, much of which will be used on the roadside this winter," said Adam Tindall-Schlicht, director of Port Milwaukee.

Mayor Tom Barrett said crews will be prepared, but winter weather comes with a hefty price tag.

"With 46 inches of snow on average each year, these winter operations total several million dollars annually, and we can't predict it," Barrett said.

Rodriguez said when the snow does stick, there are things you can do to make their drivers' jobs easier.

"Please clear your sidewalks, street corners and fire hydrants of snow and ice, but do not push that snow back into the street," she said.

DPW currently has 57 open plow driver positions. They need to have a commercial drivers license and clean driving record. The city will be actively interviewing candidates this week and next week.

Barrett said he and the Common Council worked together to increase pay in order to stay competitive and combat the labor shortage.

"We know we have to pay more. We're paying more because we have to have the drivers," Barrett said.

Rodriguez said city residents shouldn't expect to see any different level of snow removal service from previous years. But because drivers come from several departments, such as forestry, trash and sewers, residents may see impacts to those services.

"Snow removal is always our top priority in the grand scheme of things," she said.

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