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WSDOT is hiring temporary winter maintenance workers

WSDOT crew near the center line of SR 20 around mile post 150. (WSDOT/Creative Commons, Flickr)

If you like long hours and cold weather, the Washington State Department of Transportation has an opportunity for you.

The state is in great need of winter maintenance workers. WSDOT usually hires temporary workers to augment their staff during the winter and we don’t hear much about it. This year, the WSDOT is doing a hiring push.

“It’s a great position for people who have the experience, who like being out in the elements, who like to be outdoors, and helping people,” said WSDOT’s Mike Allende.

Every corner of the state needs some help to make sure roads stay open and safe.

“We have needs all over the place,” Allende said. “It’s not just snow and ice. We have wind and, as we saw this weekend, we have rain and thunder that can clog up catch basins.”

But it is the snow plowing, de-icing, snow blowing, and other cold weather work that can really use some bodies.

“We need people who already have a Commercial Driver’s License because they are going to be operating our snowplows, bulldozers, snow blowers,” Allende said. “We want people who have some experience working out on the highways, whether that’s construction, landscaping or forestry, that kind of thing.”

You might have to do minor equipment maintenance, repair guard rails or catch basins, or provide traffic control. You will likely have to be on-call, too, and be ready to respond quickly. People with first aid experience are also in high demand. People who can work well with the public are also needed.

You must be able to sit or stand for long periods of time.

“Some of these hours can be pretty long,” Allende said. “When you’re driving a snowplow, they don’t go very fast. You’re going to be sitting for a while. You may be standing doing traffic control at a collision scene up on Snoqualmie Pass that could be there for who knows how long. As long as you’re in some decent physical shape, you should be OK with that.”

I’ve seen some jobs advertised for $18-27 an hour. There are full-time, part-time and on-call spots available. You can find a link to the job postings here.

And, I can tell you from experience, you need to be comfortable being exposed on the roadway with cars whizzing by. If you have never stood along a freeway, it can be more than a little unnerving.

These temporary winter jobs usually last between three and six months.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.

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