COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As winter arrives in central Ohio, the city of Columbus is readying snowplow drivers to tackle possible snow storms.

Scott Tourville from the city’s infrastructure management with the department of public service said Columbus is in good shape. He said the city is almost fully staffed when it comes to snowplow drivers. Right now, there are 115 on staff.

“We are very excited to be in such great shape — we’re currently staffed in excess of 90% for our frontline staff — we’re constantly hiring and promoting,” said Tourville.

Local residents said clearing neighborhood side streets is a priority heading into winter.

“I think the biggest thing, especially around German Village, is just the snow and waiting for the roads to get cleared,” said Columbus resident Matthew Greco.

A new pilot program will launch this winter to help with neighborhood roads. The goal is to in staff from other city departments to help out during a big storm. A commercial driver’s license is not required for the pilot program.

“We have a fleet of those trucks that were training these staff to drive with the sole purpose of getting residential and neighborhood areas much quicker during a major event,” said Tourville.

He said there is such a huge demand for people who have commercial driver’s licenses. He also said they’ve increased wages this fall, and he believes that has helped with retention. A spokesperson with the department of public service said the budget was increased by $1 million to cover those increased wages.

“Considering where everything is with the employment market and the challenges some of our peers are facing, we’re incredibly blessed, fortunate and excited that everything is going well for us at present in that regard,” he said.

Tourville said this is key especially since they’ve upgraded more than 250 miles of city roads to a higher priority status during storms.

“Now that they’re considered a priority two or a collector roadway they get treated with every storm, they get anti icing or de-icing material with every storm that will help track that into all those residential areas — they get plowed curb to curb with every storm that requires plowing,” he said.

Tourville said the city is still in the process of hiring potential snowplow drivers. Currently, half a dozen positions are open.