Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra

A look into the challenges snow plow crews faced this winter

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CAT loaders used for snow plowing sit in Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe’s parking lot as the ski season comes to an end taken on May 8th, 2023 in Washoe County, Nev.
Adam Schifferdecker

Due to a mix of heavy, wet snow and a shortage of staff, roads were a challenge for crews to plow this winter in Incline Village.

It is no surprise that this year’s winter was awfully longer than the typical Northern Nevada winter. With that came many annoyances, such as cold temperatures, shipping delays, and poor driving conditions.

Some people also complained about a lack of snow plowing, especially in Incline Village. In an interview with Meg Ragonese, a media contact for the Nevada Department of Transportation, it became clear why NDOT had a hard time plowing this winter.

“Of the approximately 100 permanent highway maintenance staff across northwestern Nevada, 41 of those positions are vacant, and 55 out of 60 of the temporary winter highway maintenance positions are currently vacant,” Ragonese said.

NDOT’s Mt. Rose Maintenance Station on Mt. Rose Highway, which can be seen when traveling between Incline Village and Reno. Taken on May 8th, 2023 in Washoe County, Nev.
Adam Schifferdecker

However, NDOT is only responsible for major highways in the county. For example, Washoe County is responsible for some residential roads. Eric Crump, the operations director for Washoe County’s snow plow crew, said the county did not experience any staffing issues this winter.

“This year we were fully staffed up in Incline all season long. We use permanent, full-time employees for our snow removal,” Crump said. “We don’t rely on temporary or seasonal employees.”

Cars drive with ease along Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village, Nev. as temperatures began to rise in late spring taken on May 7th, 2023.
Adam Schifferdecker

Incline Village resident Emma Montgomery said she felt as though the snow plowers did a great job.

“The roads are pretty rough right now with all the potholes,” Montgomery said. “But overall, I think they did pretty good.”

Both agencies also encouraged locals to check out their online resources. For example, Washoe County’s live snow plowing map displays information such as road priorities, the location of snowplows, and when each road was last plowed. NDOT also shared that it is continuing to ramp up its hiring efforts and is prepared for whatever may happen next winter.

Adam Schifferdecker is a 2023 graduate of Damonte Ranch High School and a participant in KUNR’s Youth Media program, a special partnership with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists.

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KUNR Youth Media
KUNR’s Youth Media program is a special partnership with the Washoe County School District and Report for America to train the next generation of journalists and to elevate the voices of teenagers in our region.

See stories by KUNR Youth Media