Staffing Issues May Impact ODOT Services During Busy Travel Week

Many holiday travelers will flock to the roads this week for Thanksgiving, and wet, snowy weather could gobble up your plans if you aren’t prepared. ODOT remarks they have crews working through the feasting to keep travels safe, but they could use your help.

If there’s snow or a crash, continuing staffing shortages means ODOT will need more time to clear roads. Officials are working to fill current vacant positions, but drivers should expect less snow plowing. Similar lower levels of service will continue in the years to come without changes to the departments long-term funding, as ODOT anticipates having fewer staff available.

Please be courteous and patient with crews, whether they are plowing or flagging traffic. ODOT is seeing more close calls between crew members and vehicles. They want everyone to get where they need to go safely, and that means department folks, too.

Tips for safe winter travel during the holiday season:

  • The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, regardless of conditions. Expect delays, plan ahead, and allow extra travel time.
  • Be careful when traveling over mountain passes. Check for road conditions. Many camera displays include temperature and other helpful information.
  • Pay attention to roadside message signs. They contain critical information about conditions on the road ahead, like chain requirements. 
  • Make sure you’re ready for wintry road conditions. Carry chains and know how to use them. In case of major delays, pack supplies for you and your passengers such as food, water, blankets, warm clothes and medications.
  • Drive for conditions. Rain, snow, or extra traffic – slow down and give space for more stopping time, especially if the road is slick.
  • Give snowplows extra space and never pass on the right. Be patient. The safest place to be when it’s snowing is behind a plow.
  • Make sure there’s a sober, focused and alert driver behind the wheel to help you get to and from your destinations. We all know that turkey makes us sleepy.
  • Be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists who are often less visible in wintery weather.

Most of ODOT’s construction work will be paused over the holiday weekend to allow for extra traffic. Travelers in Corvallis on Saturday should expect traffic delays from the University of Oregon – Oregon State football game. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.

No matter how or where you travel in Oregon, be prepared for changing conditions. Don’t forget to look out for each other, ODOT crews, and emergency responders on the road. Everyone deserves a safe holiday weekend.

Source: ODOT

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