Winter is coming and we all know that means snowy, icy, and difficult travel conditions on roads and highways. Thankfully, we’ve always had amazing men and women that work hard throughout the winter to keep our roads cleared, but there is apparently a shortage of plow drivers across the country now that is forcing some cities and states to scramble.

Do Minnesotans need to worry about more dangerous travel conditions or longer commute times because there will be less plows on roads and highways? I reached out to the Minnesota Department of Transportation this morning to find out.

Mike Dougherty, MnDOT’s Director of Public Engagement and Communications for District 6 (SE MN), responded to my question right away and provided some very interesting facts about the work they do each winter.


Dougherty said MnDOT has 101 snowplows for District 6 and each route is approximately 37 miles long. His team is responsible for clearing approximately 3,700 miles in the counties they serve in southeast Minnesota which include:

  • Dodge
  • Fillmore
  • Freeborn
  • Goodhue
  • Houston
  • Mower
  • Olmsted
  • Rice
  • Steele
  • Wabasha
  • Winona

Should Minnesota Motorists Worry About a Snowplow Driver Shortage?

Dougherty said, “we have sufficient numbers for our shifts of snowplow operators.”

MnDOT DOES need temporary drivers though.  He explained, “Those are the folks who can fill in with absences. We need them, but it won’t affect the coverage of snowplows on Minnesota’s state highways. We are always looking for more snowplow operators to be sure we have strong coverage.”

Mike doesn’t expect any issues but did say a “challenge could come if there is a Covid outbreak that would force some of our operators to quarantine or who need medical care.”

If you are interested in becoming a temporary plow-driver you can learn about the position and apply here.

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