MDOT could face future delays due to COVID-19 precautions
THREE OAKS, Mi -- “Our commitment every year is that we will plow the roads that we will keep state roads and highways as clear as possible,” says Nick Schirripa, Communications Representative of the Michigan Department of Transportation Southwest Region.
Every year, MDOT works to keep the roads clear in all of Michigan. However, this year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, MDOT has a new challenge.
“We have smaller garages that are 15- 25 people that work in a garage, so if one person tests positive that garage has to be shut down for 24 hours,” says Schirripa.
Earlier this month, MDOT released a press release warning people that this winter there may be some delays on road coverage. Because the drivers could potentially become exposed to coronavirus, garages would have to be shut down resulting for sanitization and getting crew members tested. Therefore, planning for snowfall, which is already a difficult task for the department, now requires them to be flexible and prioritize roads with the staff they would have that day.
“If it is continually snowing on the roads, we have to try to keep up with it that’s as difficult as it is. Now if we lose a handful of operators, then the problem grows exponentially,” says Schirripa.
As for what the people can do during these snowfalls, Schirripa asks for everyone to be patient
“Be patient. We are not immune to this than anyone else just if the garage shuts down if we lose operators that will affect our ability to keep roads clear,” says Schirripa.
MDOT says that in the case of a big storm they can always bring in workers from other regions to help out. They don’t anticipate to ever be understaffed for more than two weeks.