Fort Collins Experiences Shortage in Plow Drivers Due to COVID-19

Plowing through the March blizzard. Photo courtesy of Wellington Fire Department.

Snowplowing operations in Fort Collins may be slightly reduced as the City deals with a shortage of plow operators due to COVID-19.

Although the City remains committed to ensuring residents can travel safely during snow events, there may be long periods of time between snowplow passes.

City staff expects snowplow operations to range between 80 and 100 percent of full capacity. While some plowing shifts may be fully staffed, others may have fewer drivers available.

“We’re asking the community to be patient and understanding,” said Larry Schneider, the City’s director of transportation operations. “There could be fewer snowplows out than normal.”

Like many other communities and businesses across the country, the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 along with normal seasonal illnesses has resulted in a significant number of employees being out sick.

City crews will continue to follow Fort Collins’ snow prioritization plan, which means that major arterials and routes that connect emergency services are the highest priority, followed by collector streets and school routes. Plows can be tracked online at

Residents may also see delays in the clearing of City-maintained sidewalks and parking lots. In addition, Streets Department crews will need to prioritize community requests, with the highest priority given to requests related to public safety.

As always, drivers should maintain a safe distance from plows – it is difficult for plow operators to see close vehicles and plows can make sudden moves. Never pass plows on a two-lane road. On a multi-lane road, plows should be passed on the left.

Drivers should make sure their vehicles are winter-ready, including ensuring vehicles have proper levels of fuel and fluids, working headlights and wipers, and appropriate tires.

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