Contractors prepare to help with snow clean-up Friday as CTDOT faces staffing shortages


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The first big snowstorm of the year is upon us, and it will be all-hands-on-deck to tackle clean-up.

“I’m checking defrosters, wiper blades, strobe lights, plow edges, tire conditions,” said John Vasel, of J V III Construction in Rocky Hill.

At J V III Construction, they have been preparing for the storm all week. They plow for the state as well as for cities and towns.

“Everything is going to be ready to go, so when that call comes in for contractors, we’re going in full force,” Vasel said.

RELATED: Winter storm preps bring busy day for local hardware stores

Their help is more critical than ever as the state is dealing with staffing shortages brought on by the pandemic.

“Another 18 people tested positive yesterday and so far, another eight who are positive today,” said Joe Giulietti, Commissioner of the State Department of Transportation. “The fortunate part is, as other people can come back in, they’re coming back in.”

Giulietti is asking for everyone’s patience. He cautions rail and bus service could be impacted as well.

“We are anticipating reduced schedules on the rail lines,” Giulietti said. “We’ve been having with the buses, regardless of storms, because of the shortage of bus drivers so you can anticipate there’s going to be issues with the bus systems.”

The DOT faced scrutiny over their response to Wednesday’s icy weather. The road conditions caused problems for people trying to get to work and kids off to school. 

RELATED: CTDOT commissioner addresses lack of pre-treatment on the roads before ice led to hazardous conditions

“People are asking, why didn’t we pre-treat? Because you cannot use brine when it’s going to rain,” Giulietti said. “It washes right off.”

But the preparation for a snow event is different. Roads have been pre-treated and crews are geared-up, ready to respond once the first snowflake falls.

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