The government is trying to fill out its roster of mechanics in order to keep its 300-piece fleet of snowclearing equipment in tip-top shape as winter looms. 

There are still 12 openings, according to the Department of Transportation and Works. 

Last year, government faced a barrage of criticism about snowclearing efforts. Figures showed that at certain times, only a fraction of the available machines were out on the roads. 

Independent MHA Paul Lane posted reports on social media that showed a snapshot of equipment availability over several days. It indicated, as one example, that only 22 per cent of equipment was available one day at a major highway depot.

New snow plow

A pilot project will test out this snow plow which will allow snow to be cleared from the right and left lanes of the highway at the same time, according to government. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Then-transportation minister Eddie Joyce said at the time breakdowns are a "common occurrence," due to the heavy snow.

Help wanted on the Avalon

"The mechanic vacancies were primarily located in the Avalon region," according to a statement from the Department of Transportation and Works provided to CBC this week.

The job vacancies break down as follows:

  • 4  (out of 21) for the Avalon
  • 3 (out of 32) for western region
  • 3 (out of 28) for central region
  • 2 (out of 24) for eastern region

These openings "can be attributed to normal turnover rates," according to the department. 

New kind of plow

There's a new addition to the snowclearing fleet this year — a tow plow which is tied behind a traditional snow plow. 

Highway depot winter Newfoundland

Highway maintenance depots, like the one shown, sometimes operate with less than 50 per cent of snowclearing equipment available, according to a recent availability report. (CBC)

The rear blade allows for snow to be cleared from the left lane and the right lane at the same time, according to government. 

It's a pilot project to gauge how effective this type of plow is on provincial highways. Motorists will see the new machine on the TCH between Route 2 and Salmonier Line.