NCDOT to lean on contractors for upcoming winter weather amid staffing and COVID challenges


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The state Department of Transportation plans to start pre-treating roads Thursday morning in preparation for winter weather forecast this weekend.

Crews will be treating Triangle roads beginning after Thursday morning rush hour, the state said Wednesday.

This involves dumping 70,000 gallons of salt brine on Wake County roads alone.

As this process plays out, NCDOT told CBS 17 it will be relying on contracted crews more heavily than usual, due to a combination of staffing challenges and COVID absences.

NCDOT said 39 percent of its operations and maintenance positions are currently vacant in Division 5 – which includes the counties of Wake, Durham, Franklin, Person, Granville, Vance and Warren.

“We’ve had staffing challenges for a few years, even before COVID,” spokesman Marty Homan said. “And then with COVID we do have drivers that are out on quarantine, or with exposure.”

Homan said the expectation is that operations will run normally for this round of winter weather despite the staffing challenges – it will just be with more help from contractors than usual.

NCDOT has used contractors as needed for years).

The City of Raleigh and Town of Cary told CBS 17 Wednesday its crews are operating without staffing concerns leading into this winter weather.

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