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COVID-related staff shortages meant snow treatment on Cincinnati streets fell short

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 18:30:58-05

CINCINNATI — The impact of this winter's heaviest snowfall was compounded by pandemic-related staffing shortages at the city's Department of Public Services, officials said Thursday.

And commuters noticed.

Twitter user @em_uh_lee1112 replied to a DPS tweet Thursday morning, writing, "11am and you still haven't touched Reading Road despite multiple accidents.."

Cincinnati police reported more than 30 crashes Thursday, all due to snow accumulation. Temperatures remained below freezing into daylight hours after overnight snowfall coated Tri-State roads just in time for the morning commute.

DPS told WCPO they began pre-treating city roads around 2 p.m. Wednesday, but much of that treatment washed away once the wet snow began falling later that evening.

A driver shortage compounded that problem.

In a written statement, a DPS official said, "With the standard compliment of 70 drivers currently down to 47 drivers due to COVID-19-related illness or exposure quarantine, staffing shortages have impacted our pace."

Mayor John Cranley weighed in on the issue on 700 WLW Thursday.

"We had every truck available out," Cranley said. "We had a number of people quarantined under COVID, unfortunately. But we are getting it up as fast as possible. It's never fast enough, but we are working as fast as we can."