City worker shortages being felt ahead of winter storm

City worker shortages being felt ahead of winter storm

5:40pm Jan 13, 2022
A morning walk through snow in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)

Staff shortages due to coronavirus-related absences are putting added strain on city employees throughout the Triad. Field operations departments have been particularly hard hit. With a major winter weather storm in the forecast this weekend, there is a lot at stake for area roadways.

In Winston-Salem, there is already a worker shortage in areas of road repair, erosion control, and drainage maintenance. In addition, nearly a dozen employees are out sick with COVID-19 or quarantined due to potential exposure.

Meanwhile, National Weather Service forecasters are calling for a strong chance of snow and icy precipitation on Sunday. Less certain is whether there’ll be enough manpower to prepare the city’s roads for a potentially significant winter storm being predicted.

To compensate for the dwindling numbers, city officials are searching other departments — utilities and sanitation — for licensed employees able to legally operate large road clearing vehicles. They’ve also initiated the road preparation process earlier than normal to allow more time. 

Employees have already begun installing spreaders and blades on trucks. They’ll start applying saltwater brine solution on portions of roadways most susceptible to ice — bridges and overpasses — beginning Friday.

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