CLEVELAND — There’s no doubt that winter is coming, and in order for the city of Cleveland to look forward to winter and ice preparedness for this season, they have to look back at the first snowstorm of last season.
If we rewind back to Jan. of 2022, it was the first major winter storm and everywhere you looked in Cleveland you found people snowed in, shoveling out and stuck in the roads, including EMS vehicles, Cleveland fire trucks and RTA buses.
Back then, Mayor Justin Bibb said he inherited a broken system and that there was room for improvement. The improvement came in the form of Frank Williams, the city’s new Director of Public Works.
“One of the things the mayor focused on when he brought me on was to overhaul the snow and ice control process,” he said.
He said their main goal this year is improving safety for citizens and for city workers.
They’ve worked on hiring more drivers.
“Last year we brought on 94 seasonal, this year we are bringing on 120,” he said. “One of the biggest things that we wanted to do is make sure we beefed up our second shift.”
They’re still looking to hire about 20 of those 120 workers. He said those drivers will be out on the roads sooner when a winter weather event occurs and they’ve received more training than in years past.
They’ve also worked on digital routes and updating the fleet’s system.
“Route optimization is a process that is implemented throughout the season so each event we keep adding to our optimization efforts,” said Williams.
And for the past 5 months, a committee made up of people from people, RTA, major hospital systems and schools has been meeting to create a plan for better communication in weather events.
“We are definitely ready but keeping in mind that every event is different. Every snow event is different so we will be approaching them and making changes as we need to,” he said.
If you’re driving into Cleveland for work, the Ohio Department of Transportation said they’re still looking to hire more than 60 seasonal drivers throughout Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage, Summit and Stark counties.
“We are hiring folks for a seasonal winter highway technician as well as full-time highway technician,” said Ray Marsch, ODOT’s District 4 Spokesperson “If you don't have a CDL, we will train and pay you to get a CDL and you will come work for us here and then you will transition to a highway technician.”
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