Caltrans receives funding for snow plowing
After a brief scare with a hiring freeze, Caltrans was informed last Thursday by the California Department of Finanace it would receive enough funding to hire 225 temporary workers – 78 for the Truckee and Tahoe areas – for snow removal purposes, the California Department of Finance announced.
While this is significantly less than what Caltrans has been able to hire in the past, Caltrans District 3 Spokesman Mark Dinger said he thinks the Truckee and Tahoe areas will not be significantly impacted.
“We needed additional help and this is going to help us,” Dinger said. “We are going to try to provide the level of service we have in the past.”
According to Dinger, there is a “plan B” if the 78 temporary employees aren’t enough. “We’re already planning on bringing up folks to help from other districts,” he said.
With the funding in place, Caltrans has already begun to search for the winter workers, including equipment operators and mechanics, part-time dispatchers and chain control workers.
Dinger mentioned that it does take time to hire the employees – they have to go through the standard application process and drug test – he said he hopes to have the positions filled by early December.
If the snow decides to fall early this season, the permanent employees should be enough to cover the plowing needs, Dinger said. “We need to keep the interstate commerce running, especially these days,” he mentioned.
Specifically for Interstate 80 around Truckee, Dinger said, Caltrans needs to make sure motorists can get through to the Tahoe Basin and Reno. While I-80 is obviously the priority for plowing, Dinger said he did not think the “secondary roadways” like state Routes 89 and 267 would suffer from the lesser amount of employees.
Anita Gore, the Department of Finance spokesperson, said the cost of the temporary employees is approximately $2 million.
According to Dinger, Caltrans District 3 plows 1,300 lane-miles on 10 highways in seven counties – Nevada, Placer, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba.
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