BAYSIDE, Queens (WABC) -- The winter wallop is causing concerns in the Tri-State area, emphasizing the desperate need for snow plow drivers equipped to handle the potential for monster snow storms.
"They don't know about us. They don't know we're here. They don't know we're hiring, that's why you see all the signs on the roads," highway maintenance worker Jennifer Murphy said.
Hundreds of digital signs like 'Help Your Neighbor' and 'Plow For DOT' started popping up all week along the major highways and thruways across New York.
"Everybody's little frustrated because we don't have enough people in snow and snow and ice," Murphy said.
"We've done initiatives like this before, but this is by far the largest one," New York Department of Transportation spokesperson Stephen Canzoneri said.
The aggressive campaign was initiated by the New York State DOT to recruit snow plow operators in advance of the winter storms.
"This is a larger problem that municipalities and corporations are facing right now," Canzoneri said. "And we're trying get ahead of that and bring people in."
On Long Island, there are 30 vacancies, in the Hudson Valley there are 50. In Connecticut, the DOT needs to fill 175 positions.
"When we say we're short staffed it doesn't mean we're at 50% capacity, we're about 85% fully staffed," Connecticut Department of Transportation spokesperson Josh Morgan said.
New York City says it has the highest headcount in years, with 6,700 sanitation workers ready and available to plow the roads, but a tweet sent last month says the department still needs snow laborers to clear sidewalks and bus stops.
As for the state, the increased visibility seems to be making an impact.
"It's a relief seeing people come in and fill out applications after seeing the DOT signs," Murphy said.
Despite the vacancies, the DOT says if a major snowstorm hits, crews from other regions can come here to help plow the roads.
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