Staffing Shortages Could Impact MDT Winter Operations

Helena, MT - The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is committed to keeping the highways cleared whenever winter weather impacts the state.

National workforce shortages are affecting MDT, like many other employers. Recruitment efforts for seasonal maintenance technicians (snowplow operators) in several areas across the state have been severely impacted.

The staffing shortages are greater this year creating more challenges statewide. MDT is approximately 50% short of seasonal snowplow operators needed to be fully staffed in Maintenance Sections across the state. Without additional staff this season, it may take much longer to clear Montana’s roadways than in recent years.

“MDT is facing significant staffing shortages in a number of areas across the state and will work proactively to clear Montana’s highways by shifting crews to the affected areas, when possible,” said Jon Swartz, MDT Maintenance Administrator. “Our snowplow operators work day in and day out, including weekends and holidays while putting in 12-hour shifts or longer, and do their best to keep the 25,000 lane miles of roads open for the traveling public.”

To help address the staffing shortage, MDT has enlisted all employees with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to assist with plowing snow and will continue hiring efforts for additional seasonal staff for this upcoming winter. Anyone interested in working at MDT should visit MDT’s career page In many locations throughout the state, MDT is willing to train selected applicants, including applicants with little to no experience, and assist them in obtaining a CDL once hired.

“We want the traveling public to understand why it could take longer this season to clear highways during winter storms,” Swartz said. “Knowing this helps motorists to plan ahead and adjust or even delay travel plans. This can increase safety for everyone and allow more time for our snowplow operators to clear the roads.”

Being prepared for winter travel by checking routes traveled and weather conditions can not only save time but keep motorists safe. Motorists can check MDT’s Road/weather condition website at or via the MDT 511 mobile apps (iOS and Android) available in the app store. In addition to road conditions, the website and mobile apps also alert users to construction projects, incidents, and events that could impact their travel. The website and mobile apps also contain additional valuable information, including weather sensors and cameras (RWIS), rest areas, and links to neighboring states travel information. Information on the website and apps is updated 24/7 as changes occur and are communicated to our Transportation Management Center. MDT asks that motorists to always “know before you go”.

Alternative accessible formats of this document will be provided on request. Persons who need an alternative format should contact the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Transportation, 2701 Prospect Ave., PO Box 201001, Helena, MT 59620. Telephone 406-444-5416 or Montana Relay Service at 711.


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