Jefferson City, Mo — Missouri Department of Transportation is preparing for a snow-filled winter this year with its annual state-wide winter drill that will take place on Thursday, Oct. 20.

The exercise is important because there is a high turnover rate and several open positions in the department.

“We’re facing a critical shortage of qualified plow operators as we go into the winter season,” said Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT chief safety, and operations officer. “This drill gives MoDOT the opportunity to train our new snowplow operators on their designated routes so they are aware of curbs and raised islands that might be hidden when the snow or ice starts to fall.”

While the snowplow crews will head out at 8 a.m., the drill will start after 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

According to a newsletter, last year MoDOT spent over $53 million on winter operations. This includes usage of over 151,00 tons of salt; 2.4 million gallons of salt brine; and 454,000 gallons of beet juice.