MDT’s perennial struggle to hire temporary drivers for snowplows could slow responses

They brave winter weather gnarly enough to keep prudent motorists off the roads.

Hazards include limited visibility, road surface defects, narrow shoulders, driver fatigue and the knucklehead motorists who aren’t sensible enough to avoid travel on a whiteout day. They crowd the plow.

The Montana Department of Transportation routinely struggles at this time of year to hire part-time, temporary snowplow drivers. It’s a perennial news story.

This year, MDT has sweetened the pot a pinch by increasing the hourly pay potential, which now ranges from $26.09 to $27.09. The previous range was $24.59 to $25.59. The increase reflects legislative authorization of hourly increases.

A snowplow driver works to clear the highway over MacDonald Pass near Helena. 

File photo

Yet the job description doesn’t sugar coat the tasks involved: “Must be able to work in extreme weather conditions and remain focused and seated for extended periods of time. Must be…able to work on weekends and holidays as needed.”

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The season typically begins in mid-November and ends in March, depending on weather.


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