(The Center Square) – If you have ever dreamed of driving a snowplow in the dead of winter, the state of Illinois is looking for you.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is looking for qualified persons to apply for seasonal positions to help with snow and ice removal on the thousands of miles of roads across the state. Through the department’s annual “snowbird” program, temporary snowplow drivers are hired every year on a full-time and on-call basis.
“This is an excellent opportunity to earn some extra income while serving your communities by keeping roads open and safe for everyone during our challenging Illinois winters,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said.
Applicants must have a commercial driver’s license and submit a criminal background check. A pre-employment physical, vision testing and drug and alcohol screening also are required.
Spokesperson Maria Castaneda said this year may be a challenge because of the existing truck driver shortage.
“It is no secret that nationwide these types of drivers are a shortage, so IDOT is no different than anyone else as far as competing for these drivers,” Castaneda said.
Snowbirds are required to respond quickly to emerging weather situations for snow and ice removal and stay on alert to work in emergency conditions at any time, including nights, weekends and holidays, the agency said.
Dealing with the results of winter weather, depending on how severe the winter becomes, costs IDOT $25 million to $30 million a year for snow removal alone.
Each winter, IDOT has about 1,800 plows to put into service, providing coverage to nearly 16,000 miles of roads, the equivalent of driving from New York to Los Angeles and back nearly six times.
For information, go to idot.illinos.gov. Job postings will be made the week of Aug. 23.