How the labor shortage, gas prices impact Greene County highways

The labor shortage and gas prices impact everything, including highway maintenance.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 7:44 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The labor shortage and gas prices impact everything, including highway maintenance.

Administrators with the Greene County Highway Department say residents will see the effects of those issues.

One area in which the county has to make cuts is in mowing patterns. Greene County residents can expect to see mowers just making one pass instead of mowing all the grass.

“Citizens will notice we’re not mowing as much as we have been,” said Greene County Highway Administrator Rick Artman. “Where we would typically make two to three passes on a road and get to the back slope and the ditch. Right now, we’re making one pass. It’s about four or five feet off of the edge line. And then we’re rolling out the sight distance triangle at the intersections.”

Administrators have to prioritize what gets mowed based on safety, but the lack of employees makes it difficult to achieve.

“Typically a full complement, we run between 116-120 full-time employees,” said Artman. “We’re down about 16 full-time right now. Full complement would be 25 to 30 seasonals where we’ve currently got three.”

Even though gas prices are reaching record highs, administrators say they will still be cutting grass all summer, which could impact highway maintenance. Greene County Highway Department administrators say they are paying twice as much fuel as last year. Every year the county does a surface treatment on 125 miles of the roadway, but if gas prices rise, that might not happen.

“We’ll pay the diesel fuel prices that we have to pay,” said Artman. “What that will mean we’ll be there may be less paving. One of the last things that I tried to pull from will be our new paving.”

As of right now, the county has no place to cut back on maintaining the roadways.

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