This is how WSDOT’s staffing shortage could affect eastern Washington this winter

SPOKANE, Wash.– Washington’s Department of Transportation needs to fill 64 positions to accomplish its jobs this winter. With the way the season is approaching, it may be too late.

They’re down about a quarter of their usual winter staffing.

Statewide, WSDOT lost 7 percent of its workforce over Washington’s vaccine mandate. In the region, they lost 38 employees because of the mandate.  The impact of the shortage will be noticeable to the people who call Washington home.

I-90 is their top priority, but other state roads may take longer. They follow a plowing plan to clear the snow.

“It’s clear to us going into the winter season that we’re not going to be fully operational and that is going to have some impact on folks,” regional administrator Mike Gribner said.

Right now, they’re not offering any incentives but Gribner said those conversations are happening to attract new employees. However, state senator Mark Schoesler blames the governor’s vaccine mandate.

“Granted we’d all like to earn a little more, but none of these men or women retired early or left because of the pay, they left because of the mandate,” Schoesler said.

While WSDOT plans to share resources across different regions, in a snowy winter, it likely will not be enough to keep up.

They’re actively recruiting for mechanics and snow plowers, among other positions.

They’re asking the public to be patient, and if you see a snowplow, to not crowd it as that can lead to longer delays.

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